Battle of Hebron

(Redirected from 1834 Hebron massacre)

The Battle of Hebron occurred in early August 1834,[1] when the forces of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt launched an assault against Hebron to crush the last pocket of significant resistance in Palestine during the Peasants' revolt in Palestine. After heavy street battles, the Egyptian army defeated the rebels of Hebron,[2] and afterward subjected its inhabitants to violence following the fall of the city.[3] About 500 civilians and rebels were killed, while the Egyptian Army experienced 260 casualties.

Battle of Hebron / 1834 Hebron massacre
Part of Peasants' revolt in Palestine
DateEarly August 1834
Hebron-Part of Egyptian-ruled provinces of Damascus Eyalet, nominally part of the Ottoman Empire

Egyptian victory

  • Massacre of inhabitants
  • Conscription orders carried out
  • Plunder of town
Egypt Eyalet

Rebels of Hebron and Nablus Sanjak

  • Qasim and Barqawi clans of Nablus Sanjak
  • 'Amr tribe of Hebron Hills
Commanders and leaders
Ibrahim Pasha

Qasim al-Ahmad
Abd al-Rahman 'Amr

'Isa al-Barqawi
4,000 (infantry)
2,000 cavalry
Casualties and losses
260 500 killed (rebels and civilians, including 12 Jews)

Although the Jews had not participated in the uprising and despite Ibrahim Pasha's assurances that the Jewish quarter would be left unharmed, Hebronite Jews were attacked.[4][5] A total of 12 Jews were killed. The Jews of Hebron later referred to the events as a Yagma el Gabireh "great destruction".[6][7]



The peasants' revolt in 1834 was a popular uprising against conscription and disarmament measures applied by Ibrahim Pasha that took five months to quell. Though notables play a key role, peasants formed the insurgency's core and attacked cities like Jerusalem. One consequence was that they also engaged in extensive plundering and assaults on local Jewish and Christian minorities and on fellow Muslims.[8][9] One of the key centers of rebellion was in the central hilly regions of Nablus, Jerusalem and Hebron. Hebron had suffered from Ibrahim Pasha's exactions. In the preceding year, under a rule imposing the conscription of one-fifth of the male population, 500 Hebronites were drafted into the Egyptian army because they were needed to fight ‘the Nazarene nations’.[10]

As Ibrahim Pasha struggled to quash the rebellion, local forces from Nablus and Jerusalem concentrated on making a last stand in Hebron. Egyptian gunners blew up the castle defences, and, on entering the city, massacred both Muslims and Jews (though the latter played no role in the rebellion), having been given six hours to enjoy the fruits of their victory. Ibraham Pasha "unleashed his troops to loot, pillage, murder, and rape in revenge and to terrorize the inhabitants so as to quash any thoughts of a repeat of their actions against his government".[11] The Nablus and Jerusalem insurgents also had a role in the violence against the Jewish community. Ibrahim Pasha is said to have intervened eventually to avoid their extermination.[12][13]

Battle and massacre


After Ibrahim Pasha subdued Nablus Sanjak, the epicentre of the revolt, they proceeded to pursue rebels led by the revolt's paramount leader, Qasim al-Ahmad, who had fled Jabal Nablus to Hebron, where he reached an agreement with the sheikhs of that town to continue the uprising. At a site in the northern vicinity of Hebron, the rebels encountered the Egyptian Army and engaged briefly with them before withdrawing to Hebron. When the Egyptian Army entered the city, they fought the rebels, consisting of peasants and townspeople, in heavy street battles. The rebels put up stiff resistance but were ultimately dealt decisive blows by Egyptian artillery. The rebels inflicted about 260 casualties on the Egyptian contingent at Hebron, which consisted of around 4,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, before the Egyptians gained complete control over the city.[2]

Mass killings and rapes by the Egyptian troops took place in Hebron after they captured the city from the rebels.[14] About 500 rebels and inhabitants were killed, and 750 Muslim men were taken as conscripts.[15] Another 120 adolescents were taken by Egyptian officers "to do with as they wanted", according to historian Baruch Kimmerling.[14] The Jews of Hebron had not participated in the rebellion, but Egyptian soldiers who entered the city ignored this.[13] For three hours, troops committed atrocities against the people of Hebron.[16] The Jews were not subject to Pasha's conscription policy but suffered the "most cruel outrages"[17] and were targeted for "special violence".[18] While many Muslims managed to escape the impending danger, the Jews remained, confident the Egyptians would not harm them. The Jews of Jerusalem had received an assurance from Ibrahim that Hebron's Jews would be protected.[19] In the end, seven Jewish men[16][20][21] and five girls[1][16] were killed. Isaac Farhi also described violent attacks on the Jews of Hebron committed by Egyptian soldiers.[22] He writes that the attack in Hebron was even worse than the 1834 looting of Safed. Synagogues were desecrated,[23] houses were ransacked, and valuable items were stolen[24] leaving the Jewish community of Hebron destitute.[25] The massacre succeeded in uniting Hebron's Sephardic and Ashkenasi communities, but it took until 1858 for the community to fully recover.[13]

Abd al-Rahman 'Amr of Dura, a leader of the Hebron rebels, fled the town,[19] and Qasim al-Ahmad and a number of his fighters also managed to flee Hebron and crossed the Jordan River to seek shelter in al-Karak. Ibrahim Pasha and his troops left Hebron to pursue Qasim on 14 August.[2]


  1. ^ a b Oded Avsar (1970). Sefer Hebron (in Hebrew). Keter. p. 56. בשנת 1835, כשנה לאחר אותו פוגרום
  2. ^ a b c Safi, Khaled M. (2008), "Territorial Awareness in the 1834 Palestinian Revolt", in Roger Heacock (ed.), Of Times and Spaces in Palestine: The Flows and Resistances of Identity, Beirut: Presses de l'Ifpo, ISBN 9782351592656
  3. ^ Baruch Kimmerling; Joel S. Migdal (2003). "The Revolt of 1834 and Modern Palestine". The Palestinian People: A History. Harvard University Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-674-01129-8. The final battle occurred in Hebron on August 4: The Egyptian victory there was complete and included levelling of the city, rape of the women, mass killing and conscription of the men, the furnishing of 120 adolescents to Egyptian officers to do with as they wanted.
  4. ^ Moshe Maʻoz (1975). Studies on Palestine during the Ottoman period. Magnes Press. p. 147. ISBN 9789652235893. In Hebron, for example, Jews were massacred in 1834 by Egyptian soldiers who came to put down a local Muslim rebellion
  5. ^ David Vital (1975). The origins of Zionism. Clarendon Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-19-827194-9. In Safed the peasant revolt of 1834 hit the Jews particularly hard; in Hebron there was a massacre of Jews after the entry of Egyptian soldiers sent to put down the Muslim rebels.
  6. ^ Hyam Zvee Sneersohn (1872). Palestine and Roumania: a description of the Holy Land and the past and present state of Roumania and the Roumanian Jews. Ayer Publishing. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-405-10291-2.
  7. ^ Pinchas Hacohen Peli; Avigdor Shinʼan (1973). "The shifts in the status of Jews in Syria and Palestine in the 19th-century". Proceedings of the Fifth World Congress of Jewish Studies, the Hebrew University, Mount Scopus-Givat Ram, Jerusalem, 3-11 August, 1969. World Union of Jewish Studies. p. 74. A new era in the history of the region began with the conquest of Syria and Palestine by Ibrahim Pasha the Egyptian: a pogrom against Hebron Jewry, attacks on the Jews of Safed, and a blood libel in Damascus.
  8. ^ Joel Beinin Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East, Cambridge University Press, 2001 p.33.
  9. ^ Judith Mendelsohn Rood, Sacred Law In The Holy City: The Khedival Challenge To The Ottomans As Seen from Jerusalem, 1829-1841, BRILL 2004 p.128
  10. ^ Judith Mendelsohn Rood, Sacred Law In The Holy City: The Khedival Challenge To The Ottomans As Seen from Jerusalem, 1829-1841, BRILL 2004 p.120, p.126
  11. ^ ’Adel Manna’, ‘Reading the 834 Revolt against Muhammad ‘Ali in Palestine and Rethinking Ottoman Rule,’ in Kamīl Manṣūr,Leila Tarazi Fawaz (eds.)Transformed Landscapes: Essays on Palestine and the Middle East in Honor of Walid Khalidi, The American University Press in Cairo 2009 pp.83-103 p.87
  12. ^ Emile Marmorstein, ‘European Jews in Muslim Palestine,’ in Elie Kedourie,Sylvia G. Haim (eds.) Palestine and Israel in the 19th and 20th Centuries, (1982) Routledge 2013 pp.1-14, p.5
  13. ^ a b c Louis Finkelstein (1960). The Jews: their history, culture, and religion. Harper. p. 674. During the war of Ibrahim Paha, when the Arabs of Hebron revolted against the Egyptians, the Jews of Hebron suffered more than any other Jewish community in the land. Ibrahim Pasha ordered his troops ruthlessly to suppress the revolt, and when they attacked the city with permission to plunder and slaughter at will, they did not distinguish between Arabs and the Jews, who had no part in the rebellion. This calamity united the Hebron Sephardim and the Habad Hasidim, and in 1834 they jointly sent Rabbi Nathan Amram to seek aid in Western Europe for Jewish Hebron. The community did not fully recover until Rabbi Elijah Mani arrived in the city in 1858.
  14. ^ a b Kimmerling, Baruch; Migdal, Joel S. (2003). The Palestinian People: A History. Harvard University Press. p. 11. ISBN 9780674011298.
  15. ^ Robinson, Edward (1856). Biblical Researches in Palestine and the Adjacent Regions: A Journal of Travels in the Years 1838 & 1852. Vol. 2. Murray. p. 88.
  16. ^ a b c Sherman Lieber (1992). Mystics and missionaries: the Jews in Palestine, 1799-1840. University of Utah Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-87480-391-4. During a ferocious onslaught of three hours, Ibrahim Pasha allowed his troops to slaughter Muslims, plunder the population, and defile the women. When Muslims sought safety in the Jewish quarter of Hebron, the soldiers pursued them, indiscriminately killing and looting all in their path.
  17. ^ Edward Robinson (1841). Biblical researches in Palestine, mount Sinai and Arabia Petrea. John Murray. p. 461. Many were slain; and the Jews especially are reported to have suffered the most cruel outrages from the brutal soldiery.
  18. ^ American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (1836). The Missionary herald. Published for the Board by Samuel T. Armstrong. p. 253. After the battle the city was given up to the plunder and licentiousness of the soldiers. They fell upon the poor Jews with special violence, the rebels having made their strongest resistance in the Jewish quarter of the town fighting from…
  19. ^ a b Joseph Schwarz (1850). A descriptive geography and brief historical sketch of Palestine. A. Hart. p. 398.
  20. ^ Church Pastoral-aid Society, London (1846). The Church of England magazine. Vol. 20. J. Burns. p. 18. Seven Jews were massacred by the soldiers; and atrocities were committed, in the quarter belonging to that devoted nation, which cannot be mentioned.
  21. ^ H. Z. Sneersohn & J. Schwarz only mention the murder of 5 Jews.
  22. ^ Matthias B. Lehmann (2005). Ladino rabbinic literature and Ottoman Sephardic culture. Indiana University Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-253-34630-8.
  23. ^ J. D. Paxton (1839). Letters from Palestine. Charles Tilt. p. 173. A few years ago, when Ibrahim Pasha's troops took Hebron, they committed great outrages on the Jews, by plundering them of all they could find. They broke into their synagogue, and opened all parts of it in which they thought anything could be found, mutilated and tore their roll of the law, and perpetrated many other enormities.
  24. ^ John Lloyd Stephens (1838). Incidents of travel in Egypt, Arabia Petraea, and the Holy Land. Harper & Brothers. p. 127. and while their guilty brethren were sometimes spared, the unhappy Jews, never offending but always suffering, received the full weight of Arab vengeance. Their houses were ransacked and plundered; their gold and silver, and all things valuable, carried away; and their wives and daughters violated before their eyes by a brutal soldiery.
  25. ^ Martin Sicker (1999). Reshaping Palestine: from Muhammad Ali to the British Mandate, 1831-1922. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-275-96639-3.