Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians while they were praying

On February 25th, 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish American immigrant, and member of the radical Kach party led by Rabbi Meir Kahane, opened fire at Muslim worshippers in Hebron with a semi-automatic weapon, killing twenty nine and wounding 125 before being beaten to death by survivors fighting for their lives. The massacre, which was defined as such by the deeply disturbed Israeli public and government led to two days of riots between Jews and Arabs in Judea and Samaria.  

The worshippers attacked were praying at the Mosque of Abraham on the site of the Cave of Machpelah, the traditional location considered to be the burial place of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah. The place is considered holy to all three major monotheistic religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

The attack was widely condemned by Israeli leaders and Jews around the world, with no significant Jewish or Israeli figure daring to defend such a heinous act of terror.  President Ezer Weizman called the Machpelah massacre โ€œthe worst thing that has happened to all of us in the history of Zionism.โ€ 

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was busy signing the Oslo agreements with the PLO, addressed the Knesset by saying, โ€œAs a Jew and an Israeli, as a man and human being, I am humiliated by the shame brought upon us by this lowly killer.โ€  Several days of violence and rioting continued, jeopardizing the Rabin peace process, which was on its way to delivering peace with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Goldstein was a physician in Kiryat Arba, a suburb of Hebron and an Israeli settlement that was established in 1971 as the first Jewish community in the West Bank following the June 1967 Six-Day War. Historically speaking, Hebron was always a Jewish town, but only in recent decades and centuries being transformed into a predominantly Arab-Muslim city.

Goldstein was born in Brooklyn, NY, and immigrated to Israel in 1983 after graduating from Yeshiva University and receiving a medical degree from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine.  While serving as a physician in the IDF, it has been reported that he refused to treat Arabs, something against the IDF martial law.  Goldstein was a follower of Rabbi Meir Kahane, an extreme right-wing politician who supported removing all Arabs from the land of Israel.  Kahaneโ€™s party, Kach, was banned by the Knesset for having a racist platform in 1988. The Machpelah massacre took place during Ramadan and the Jewish Purim holiday.

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