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Baruch Goldstein

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Title: Baruch Goldstein  
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Subject: Judaism and violence, Kiryat Arba, Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, Kahanism, 1994 Brooklyn Bridge shooting
Collection: 1956 Births, 1994 Deaths, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Alumni, American Emigrants to Israel, American Kahanists, American Orthodox Jews, American Zionists, Deaths by Beating, Israeli Kahanists, Israeli Mass Murderers, Israeli Military Personnel, Israeli Military Physicians, Israeli Orthodox Jews, Israeli Settlers, Israeli–palestinian Conflict, Jewish Military Personnel, Jewish Physicians, Jewish Religious Terrorism, Naturalized Citizens of Israel, People from Brooklyn, People from Kiryat Arba, Physicians from New York, Terrorist Incidents in the Palestinian Territories, Zionist Political Violence
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Baruch Goldstein

Baruch Goldstein
Born (1956-12-09)December 9, 1956
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died February 25, 1994(1994-02-25) (aged 37)
Hebron, West Bank
Cause of death Beaten to death
Resting place Kiryat Arba, across from the Meir Kahane Memorial Park
Residence Kiryat Arba
Other names Benjamin Goldstein[1]
Alma mater Yeshiva University (1977) highest honors, Albert Einstein College of Medicine[1]
Occupation Physician (emergency doctor)
Years active 11
Known for Killing 29 Palestinians and injuring 125
Religion Orthodox Judaism
Spouse(s) Miriam Goldstein

Baruch Kopel Goldstein (Hebrew: ברוך קופל גולדשטיין‎; December 9, 1956 – February 25, 1994) was an American-born Israeli physician and religious extremist. He is known for being the mass murderer[2] who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounding another 125.[3][4] He was beaten to death by survivors of the massacre.

The Israeli government condemned the massacre and responded by arresting followers of Meir Kahane, criminalizing the Kach movement and affiliated movements as terrorist, forbidding certain Israeli settlers from entering Palestinian towns and demanding that those settlers turn in their army-issued rifles,[5] although rejecting a PLO demand that all settlers in the West Bank be disarmed and that an international force be created to protect Palestinians.[5] Jewish Israelis were barred from entering major Arab communities in Hebron. The Israeli government also took extreme measures against Palestinians following the deadly riots after the massacre,[6] expelling them from certain streets near Jewish settlements in Hebron, such as Al-Shuhada Street, where many Palestinians had homes and businesses, and allowing access exclusively to Jewish Israelis and foreign tourists.[7]

Goldstein's gravesite became a pilgrimage site for Jewish extremists.[8] Upon the tomb, the following words are inscribed: “He gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land.”[7] In 1999, after the passing of Israeli legislation outlawing monuments to terrorists, the Israeli Army dismantled the shrine that had been built to Goldstein at the site of his interment. The tombstone and its epitaph, calling Goldstein a martyr with clean hands and a pure heart, was left untouched.[9] After the flagstones around it were pried away under the eye of a military chaplain, the ground was covered with gravel.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Immigration to Israel 2
  • Massacre 3
  • Gravesite and shrine 4
  • Legacy 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life and education

Goldstein was born in Meir Kahane.[11]

Immigration to Israel

Goldstein immigrated to Israel in 1983.[1] He served as a physician in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), first as a conscript, then in the reserve forces. Following the end of his active duty, Goldstein worked as a physician and lived in the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba near Hebron, where he worked as an emergency doctor, and was involved in treating victims of Arab-Israeli violence.[12] Israeli press reports stated that Goldstein refused to treat Arabs, even Arab soldiers serving in the IDF, believing it was against Jewish laws to treat non-Jews even for payment.[13][14] This was also reflected in comments by his acquaintances.[15] Goldstein was active in Kahane's Kach party and was third on the party list for the Knesset during the 1984 elections.[16] He compared Israel's democracy to Germany under Nazism, and was in the habit of wearing a yellow star with the word Jude on it.[17]


On February 25, 1994, that year's Purim day, Goldstein entered a room in the Cave of the Patriarchs that was serving as a mosque, wearing "his army uniform with the insignia of rank, creating the image of a reserve officer on active duty." [18] He then opened fire, killing 29 worshippers and wounding more than 125.[19] Mosque guard Mohammad Suleiman Abu Saleh said he thought that Goldstein was trying to kill as many people as possible and described how there were "bodies and blood everywhere".[20] Eventually, Goldstein was overcome and beaten to death by survivors of the massacre.[21] According to Ian Lustick, "by mowing down Arabs he believed wanted to kill Jews, Goldstein was reenacting part of the Purim story."[22]

Palestinian protests and riots immediately followed the shooting; in the following week, 25 Palestinians were killed (by the Israel Defense Forces), as well as five Israelis.[6] Following the riots, the Israeli government imposed a two-week curfew on the 120,000 Palestinian residents of Hebron, as the 400 Jewish settlers of H2 were free to move around.[23] Israeli Prime Minister Yasser Arafat, and described the attack as a "loathsome, criminal act of murder".[20] The Israeli government condemned the massacre, and responded by arresting followers of Meir Kahane, forbidding certain settlers from entering Arab towns, and demanding that those settlers turn in their army-issued rifles, though rejecting a PLO demand that settlers be disarmed and that an international force be created to protect Palestinians.[5] Goldstein was immediately "denounced with shocked horror even by the mainstream Orthodox",[24] and many in Israel classified Goldstein as insane.[25]

Gravesite and shrine

Goldstein's tomb.

Goldstein was not allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery[26] and is buried across from the Meir Kahane Memorial Park in Kiryat Arba, a Jewish settlement adjacent to Hebron. The park is named in memory of Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Israeli far-right political party Kach, a group classified by the United States and Israeli governments as a terrorist group. Goldstein was a long-time devotee of Kahane.[1]

The gravesite has become a pilgrimage site for Jewish extremists; a plaque near the grave reads "To the holy Baruch Goldstein, who gave his life for the Jewish people, the Torah and the nation of Israel." At least 10,000 people have visited the grave since the massacre.[8] In 1996, members of the Labor Party called for the shrine-like landscaped prayer area near the grave to be removed, and Israeli security officials expressed concern that the grave would encourage extremists.[27] In 1999, following passage of a law designed to prohibit monuments to terrorists, and an associated Supreme Court ruling, the Israeli Army bulldozed the shrine and prayer area set up near Goldstein's grave.[28] A new tomb has been built and still receives visits from Jewish pilgrims.[7]


At Goldstein's funeral, Rabbi Yaacov Perrin claimed that even one million Arabs are "not worth a Jewish fingernail".[29][30][31] Samuel Hacohen, a teacher at a Jerusalem college, declared Goldstein the "greatest Jew alive, not in one way but in every way" and said that he was "the only one who could do it, the only one who was 100 percent perfect."[30][31] Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba declared that Goldstein was "holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust."[32]

In contrast, mainstream Jewish religious leaders "rejected the suggestion that killing Palestinians with an automatic rifle" was authorized by the Torah.[29]

In the weeks following the massacre, hundreds of Israelis traveled to Goldstein's grave to celebrate Goldstein's actions. Some Hasidim danced and sang around his grave.[33] According to one visitor to the gravesite in the wake of the attacks, "If [Goldstein] stopped these so-called peace talks, then he is truly holy because this is not real peace."[33] Some visitors declared Goldstein a "saint" and "hero of Israel".[33]

The phenomenon of the adoration of Goldstein's tomb persisted for years.[8] The grave's epitaph said that Goldstein "gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land".[9] In 1999, after the passing of Israeli legislation outlawing monuments to terrorists, the Israeli army dismantled the shrine that had been built to Goldstein at the site of his interment. In the years after the dismantling of the shrine, radical Jewish settlers continued to celebrate the anniversary of the massacre in the West Bank, sometimes even dressing up themselves or their children to look like Goldstein.[8][34][35][36]

In 2010, Jewish settlers sang songs in praise of Baruch Goldstein's massacre demonstratively in front of their Arab neighbours, during celebrations of Purim. A phrase from one song reads "Dr. Goldstein, there is none other like you in the world. Dr. Goldstein, we all love you… he aimed at terrorists' heads, squeezed the trigger hard, and shot bullets, and shot, and shot."[37]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Lacayo, Richard; Lisa Beyer; Massimo Calabresi; Eric Silver (March 7, 1994). "The Making of a Murderous Fanatic".  
  2. ^ Israel and the Politics of Jewish Identity: The Secular-Religious Impasse. By Asher Cohen, Bernard Susser. p.59
  3. ^ "CIA paper cites Jewish acts of terrorism", JTA, 26 August 2010
  4. ^ Hillel Kutler, "US report cites increase in terrorism deaths in Israel", Jerusalem Post, 30 April 1995
  5. ^ a b c  
  6. ^ a b Middle East Journal, Chronology, vol 48, no 3 (Summer 1994) p. 511 ff.
  7. ^ a b c AYELET WALDMAN (2014). "The Shame of Shuhada Street". The Atlantic. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Graveside party celebrates Hebron massacre". BBC News. March 21, 2000. Retrieved October 19, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b GreenBerg, Joel. "Israel destroys shrine to mosque gunman", December 30, 1999, New York Times.
  10. ^ Precker, Michael. "Brooklyn's image as extremist hotbed disputed by some Borough defenders say ties to Israel cherished, but radical groups aren't", The Dallas Morning News, March 20, 1994. Accessed August 6, 2007. "'This is not what we are teaching,' said Rabbi David Eliach, principal at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, where Dr. Goldstein attended high school."
  11. ^ BBC NEWS "Goldstein had been a member of the Jewish Defense League."
  12. ^ BBC NEWS "Goldstein had lived in Israel for 11 years and was a doctor in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, just outside Hebron." "As the settlement's main emergency doctor he was involved in treating victims of Arab-Israeli violence."
  13. ^ Gurvitz, Yossi (2012-04-08). "Jewish soldiers refuse to share Seder table with Druze comrades". 972mag. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  14. ^ Israel Shahak. "The Real Significant of Baruch Goldstein".  
  15. ^ Mass-mediated Terrorism Brigitte Lebens Nacos, Rowman & Littlefield, 2002
  16. ^ "Brother Against Brother" By Ehud Sprinzak pg. 242
  17. ^ Ami Pedahzur, Arie Perliger,Jewish Terrorism in Israel, Columbia University Press, 2011. p.71.
  18. ^ "COMMISSION OF INQUIRY- MASSACRE AT THE TOMB OF THE PATRIARCHS IN HEBRON-26-Jun-94". 1994-06-26. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  19. ^ Settlers remember gunman Goldstein; Hebron riots continue. Issacharoff, Avi. Haaretz. March 01, 2010.
  20. ^ a b On This Day 1994: Jewish settler kills 30 at holy site, February 25, 2005, BBC News.
  21. ^ George J. Church, Lisa Beyer, Jamil Hamad, Dean Fischer, J.F.O. McAllister (March 7, 1994). "When Fury Rules".  
  22. ^ Ian Lustick, For The Land and The Lord, Council on Foreign Relations (1988) 2nd ed., 1994, Preface
  23. ^ Aditi, Bhaduri (May 21, 2006). "Fabled town, divided and bruised".  
  24. ^ The ethics of war in Asian civilizations: a comparative perspective By Torkel Brekke, Routledge, 2006, p.44
  25. ^ Wilson, Rodney. 2007. Review Article: Islam and Terrorism. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 34(2):203-213. [2]. (accessed 29 August 2010).
  26. ^ "Supreme court decision". 
  27. ^ "Goldstein's grave draws extremists", Jewish Telegraphic Agency, November 22, 1996.
  28. ^ "Israel removes shrine to mosque murderer", CNN, 29 December 1999.
  29. ^ a b Kraft, Scott (1994-02-28). "Extremists Pay Tribute to Killer of 48 at Funeral".  
  30. ^ a b Brownfeld, Allan C. (March 1999). "Growing Intolerance Threatens the Humane Jewish Tradition".  
  31. ^ a b Emran Qureshi, Michael Anthony Sells (2003). The new crusades: constructing the Muslim enemy.  
  32. ^ Sefi Rachlevsky,'Ruth Calderon in the wonderland of mutilated Israeli ideology,' at Haaretz, 10 April 2013
  33. ^ a b c Haberman, Clyde."Hundreds Of Jews Gather To Honor Hebron killer", April 1, 1994, New York Times.
  34. ^ Bouckaert, Peter. Center of the Storm: a case study of human rights abuses in Hebron District, 2001, page 82.
  35. ^ Elliott Horowitz, Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence pp. 8, Princeton University Press
  36. ^ Purim Party Sparks MKs Protests, Haaretz, March 19, 2003
  37. ^ Sheikh Jarrah Jews praise Baruch Goldstein on Purim

External links

  • Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- Excerpts from the report of the Commission of Inquiry Into the Massacre at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron (aka the "Shamgar Report")
  • UN document containing extracts of the Israeli inquiry report
  • When Fury Rules Time Magazine, March 7, 1994.
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