History

How much did it cost to rebuild Hebron in 1931?

A rare historical document explains the facts about the return of the massacre survivors to Hebron in 1931

11.7.19, 17:27
(PHOTO: World Zionist Organization members from Jerusalem at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Source: from the 1931 pamplet.)
 
The following historical document was published in June 1931 in both English and Hebrew. The 1929 Hebron massacre resulted in the removal of all Jews from Hebron. Many of the exiled residents returned to the city in 1931 led by Rabbi Haim Bajayo. They were again evicted from the city in 1936. Note the language and spelling used are different than modern American English.
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HEBRON RECONSTRUCTING BOARD at the EXECUTIVE CENTRAL COUNCIL
of the Universal Confederation of Sepharadic Jews
JERUSALEM 
P.O B. 723- 
Phone 191.
REPORT to the XVII ZIONIST CONGRESS & Second Assembly of the Council of the JEWISH AGENCY FOR PALESTINE IN BASLE.
Tamouz 5691

Deputies of Israel to the 17th Zionist Congress!
Representatives of Israel in the Jewish Agency for Palestine in Basle!
All true Members of Israel at any place! Peace with you!
 
The Hebron Reconstructing Board at the Executive Central Council of the Universal Confederation of Sephardic Jews in Jerusalem and all undersigned have the great advantage of transmitting you herewith the blessings of the Ancestors' City of Hebron and solicit you to lend your attention to this short Memorial dealing with the problem of reconstruction of Hebron -- one of the four Holy Cities which had been destroyed and the refugees of which since the riots and massacres of August 1929 still have left her. 
 
RECONSTRUCTION OF JEWISH SETTLEMENT IN HEBRON
 
After 20 months of mourning the refugees commenced to return to their native place and to rebuild the Jewish settlement anew. 

Our Holy Ancestors, inhabitants of the Double Cavern, the long history of David's Capital, and of the 67 martyres of August 1929 that are buried on the mountains of Hebron, the future hopes of our Nation in the South of Judea, all these excited our minds and encouraged us to approach reconstructing the Jewish Settlement in "Kiryath Arba" with our own accord.

Assisted by the Hebron Community "Kollel," the first tens of families already have returned, and there remained still many being prepared to continue Jewish settlement that never has been stopped. The neighbours welcomed them friendly.

HEBRON 25 YEARS AGO

25 years ago about 300 Jewish families earned commerce, handicraft, and Study of their living from Thorah. The Great War terribly empoored them, many died from pestilence and many of them never returned from the Turkish Army, so that the number of Jewish families dropped to the amount of one hundred. The new Jewish Settlement of Palestine defined itself along the sea shore, while deserting the high regions and we greatly regret that our National Institutions stood afar and favoured no answer the call of the Ancestors' City for help.

And woe, the horrible days of riot in August 1929 went on and stretched out 67 slaughtered Saints whose blood cries up to heaven and calls the people of Israel to rebuild a Jewish settlement, and should the instigators not say: "OUR HAND IS OVER! WE SUCCEEDED TO RASE JEWISH SETTLEMENTS UP TO THE FACE OF EREZ-ISRAEL" !

EMERGENCY FUND FOR PALESTINE
 
As well known, the destruction of Hebron excited the minds of entire World Jewry. The Emergency Fund, created mainly to reconstruct the ruins and to reinforce the empoored Settlements, fixed at the beginning an amount of £50.000 for the reconstruction of Hebron, but, as time went on, this endowment was — due to various reasons and in spite of the Settlement's opposition -- reduced to the amount of £10.000, also this investment being still retarded. This restriction causes Hebron to remain until this moment bare of its Jewish inhabitants, and the entire southern District to be closed against Jewish Settlement. Yet, in spite of all, the former inhabitants of this Holy City never desperated, and they continued in hope to return to her, to love her soil and to renew her ruins, and, despite all obstacles, already some parts of this settlement began their life in Hebron anew.

The Hebron Reconstructing Board at the Central Executive Council of the Universal Confederation of Sephardic Jews in Jerusalem, appreciating the gentle spirit of the pioneers returning to the City, cannot stand away of this noble deed, and we undertook encouraging those who returned and urging those yet hesitating to return and to enjoin the former as soon as possible. And, therefore, the undersigned Board is issuing a great call to all our brethren all over the Diaspora, to assist us in reconstructing Hebron, the City of Ancestors, and to restore her crown to its ancient glory.

We believe the Emergency Fund to revise their decision and to confirm the former amount once fixed for the reconstruction of Hebron. But, at the same time, we approach with this call the entire Diaspora and solicit her to assist us in collecting special amounts, to enable the enlargement of the Hebron Jewish Settlement and its founding on a sound economic basis, so as to lay the foundation for new settlements in the Negev of Judea which is still bare of Jewish inhabitants.

OUR PROGRAM
The following is a confined plan for settlement of toe first 100 families in Hebron.

1) Agricultural farms in Hebron. - As well known, Hebron supplies to Jerusalem and to other cities of Palestine great quantities of food, as milk, butter, cream, cheese, honey, vegetables, meat, eggs, chickens, etc., this production being consumed chiefly by Jews. Myriades of Pounds yearly pass to other hands for ever, and we therefore project, at the head of our programme, the foundation of agricultural farms in Hebron.

2) Small home industries. - Young Tel Aviv is being built up on small industries. The low standard of life, the small hires and a certain aid of the Congregation would in a considerable degree enable to promote the establishing of many families, that should gain their livelihood on small industries. The produce of these industries should easily conquer the market kept row by foreign producents, within and in the neighbourhood of the country. The inhabitants of Negev Judea only, 200.000 in number, beneed a simple sort of linen and a similar kind of wear. We therefore propose, for the commencement, to establish linen and carpet factories and belaboring of Nahal Eshkol wine.

OUR PROGRAME IN FIGURES

In order to execute the above program of 100 families, an amount of at least £40.000 is needed as follows:

1) Acquiring 1000 dunams of land £. 5.000 
2) Establishing 30 Agric. Farms in Hebron " 6.000 
3) Establishing 3 small industries:
a) Carpets, b) Linen, c) Wine " 6.000 
4) Building up a centralised quarter " 18.000 
5) Various Public Buildings " 3.000 
6) Administrative Expenses “ 2.000
________
£ 40.000 

STATISTICS AND DISTRIBUTION OF FAMILIES:

30 families in the farms, 
30 "        in small home industries, 
10 "        in handicraft, in merchandise and grocery, 
10 "        of Rabbanim and Ritual persons, living on Keren Porath Joseph, 
10 "        of Community Clerks : Rabbi, Teacher, Shohet, Physician, Pharmacist, Shamash, Watchman, etc.,
100
= 100

OUR APPEAL 

In order to realise the above programme £40.000 are necessary. We appeal the Emergency Fund to invest at least half of this amount, and the remaining half to be collected from the spread parts of Israel.
We believe that, with the good will of our National Institutions and with the aid of our brethren all over the world, we should reach the desired end, and detach the honourable task which we are owing to the holy City and to 67 slaughtered Saints, sacrificed on the altar of our Nation in the month of August 1929. 

FORWARD, BRETHREN, BUILD UP THE CITY Of ANCESTORS! With the Blessings of Zion and its Redemption HEBRON RECONSTRUCTING BOARD at the Universal Confederation of Sephardic Jews, The EXECUTIVE CENTRAL COUNCIL of the Universal Confederation of Sephardic Jews.

M. D. de PICCITTO, President of the Universal Confederation of Sephardic Jews.
Dr. ISAAC LEVY, Vice-President of the Universal Confederation of Sephardic Jews, 
BEN ZION A. COENKA. R.A.B.D., Jerusalem, Chief Rabbi to the Hebron Congregation.
ABRAHAM ELMALEH,Member to the National Council and President to the Maroccain Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine,
ABRAHAM FRANCO, Secretary of the Jerusalem Municipality.
DAVID AVISSAR, Member to the National Council of Palestine Jews,

FROM THE CHIEF RABBINATES OF PALESTINE

To the Rabbis and Leaders of all Congregations of Israel,

We herewith have the honour of applying to your reverence kindly to take interest in the problem of reconstructing the ruined Community of Hebron, abode of our Holy Ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the City which bestowed glory and blessings to the Jewish Nation.

Since the managers of the Emergency Fund show no intention to rebuild Hebron, and the amount assigned to this end offers no possibility of settling down a safe Community, we appeal to the Jewish Nation to build this holy City and to set her a glory and blessing of the country.

Let the rioters not say; It is not the Work of God. It is our own power that prevailed!

We therefore support with our highest exertion the activities of the Members of the Hebron Reconstructing Board in Jerusalem and sincerely beg the Leaders of Jewry all over the world to aid them with deed and word in organizing a Committee in favor of Hebron, which should supply amounts for reconstruction of David's ruined Capital.
 
The souls of 67 martyres buried in Hebron, whose blood was shed to hallow His name, the mission of constructing Palestine and the Renaissance of our people demand this expiation in form of Construction and Settlement.
"And I saith thee: from thy blood thou wilst live!" With more effort and with more energy we have to rebuild the Ruins of the Holy City of Hebron to assist the colonists and to establish agricultural settlements in the neighbourhood of the blessed town.

The reconstruction of Grand Hebron is the quick reply against the riots of August 1929 and Judea shall be relieved and shall Israel dwell in security. Amen.

Sealing with Blessings, we are:
Jacob Meir
Rishon-Lezion and chief Rabbi of the Palestine Rabbinate.
Abraham Isaac H'Cohen Kuk.
Chief Rabbi of Palestine Rabinate
Appeal of Ben-Zion Meir Hai Uziel, R. G.
Chief Rabbi for the District of Jaffa and Tel-Aviv on behalf of rebuilding Hebron
Settling the ancestors' City, our holy City of Hebron with a Jewish population and returning to her boundaries the sons so violently teared from them in the riots of August 1929 is a common duty of all Israel in Palestine and abroad and it is chiefly the task of the Zionist Organisation and of the Jewish Agency.

Blessed be by the Lord all Pioneers who have returned to dwell in our Ancestors' City, and it should be our duty to assist them to encourage them and to increase our Jewish population in this holy City and not to desert them alone. 

Being conscious of this duty, I join the words of our Rabbis, Gaonim and Presidents of the Chief Rabbinate of Erez Israel, and I entreat all our brethren in Palestine and abroad:

Bring your help to the reconstruction of the ruins of Hebron and let us rebuild the Jewish Settlement there on a sound basis, to enlarge the population and to increase the number of Jewish inhabitants there.
And may we soon behold to see the fulfillment of the prophetic promise: ...There is a hoping for thy posterity, saith God, and the sons shall return to their boundaries."

BEN-ZION MEIR HAI UZIEL, DECREES OF JEWISH POPULATION REPRESENTATIVES OF PALESTINE ON TILE RECONSTRUCTION OF HEBRON

1) It is the duty of the Emergency Fund for Palestine to rebuild the ruins of Palestine including those of Hebron by donations deposited to its disposal.

2) the sum of L.P. 10.000 fixed by the committee of Emergency Fund for Hebron offers 110 possibility to found a sufficient settlement on account of which the appointees of the Emergency Fund are required to assign for Hebron not less than L. P. 50.000

3) The Jewish settlement must center itself in such a place that would have the ability of assuring it any further development.

4) The Emergency Fund must found an agricultural settlement in connected with town settlement in the surroundings of Hebron.

5) We address all Israel to support the Jewish settlement in Hebron and rebuild Grand Hebron which shall be a resource of hope to the whole settlement in the South of Judea.

JACOB MEIR
Rishon Lezion and Chief Rabbi of the Palestine Rabinate.
ABRAHAM I. H'COHEN KUK Chief Rabbi of the Palestine Rabinate. 
M. USSISCHKIN
Chairman of the Directory of Keren Kayemeth Lejisrael.
JOSEPH BAR'N MEYOUHAS
President of Jewish Community of Jerusalem. 
DAVID YELLIN
Chairman of the Vaad Leumi
HAIM SALOMON 
Chairman of the Vaad Leumi
I. BEN-ZVI
President of Palestine Labour Party.
Rabbi M. BERLIN 
Chairman of the Misrahi World Organisation
Rabbi M. OSTROVSKI
Chairman of the Misrahi World Organisation COMMITTEE FOR HEBRON.

RESOLUTIONS OF THE REPRESENTATIVES ASSEMBLY OF KNESETH ISRAEL ON THE BUILDING OF HEBRON.

"The Representatives Assembly of Kneseth Israel records it with deep regret that the valley of Hebron is still deserted of Jews and demands the Emergency Fund to promote the practical action of rebuilding the ancestors city."
 
MEMBERS of the CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE of the UNIVERSAL CONFEDERATION OF SEPHARADIC JEWS in Jerusalem
Mr. Moise Daniel de Picciotto, President 
Dr. Isaac Levy, Vice-President 
Rabbi Abraham Abikhzir, Member of Administration 
Mr. Abraham Elmaleh
Lazar Eliachar
David Aboulafia, Advocate
M. D. Gaon 
Rabbi Menahem Levy 
Mr. Meir Laniado, Advocate 
Joseph Bar'n Meyouhas 
Yoseph Hai Panizel Advocate
Secretary: Isaac Alexandroni