1938 Tiberias massacre

The Tiberias massacre took place on 2 October 1938, during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Tiberias, then located in the British Mandate of Palestine and today located in the State of Israel.[2]

1938 Tiberias massacre
Part of the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine
Memorial and graves of victims in Tiberias' old cemetery
Native nameהטבח בטבריה
LocationTiberias, Mandatory Palestine
Coordinates32°47′40″N 35°32′00″E / 32.79444°N 35.53333°E / 32.79444; 35.53333
Date2 October 1938; 85 years ago (1938-10-02)
c. 21:00 pm (UTC+2)
TargetJewish Kiryat Shmuel neighbourhood
WeaponsStabbing, arson
Deaths19 (including 11 children)[1]
PerpetratorsPalestinian Arabs
No. of participants
Defenders15 Jewish guards

After infiltrating the Jewish Kiryat Shmuel neighbourhood, Arab rioters killed 19 Jews in Tiberias, 11 of whom were children.[1] During the massacre, 70 armed Arabs set fire to Jewish homes and the local synagogue. In one house a mother and her five children were killed. The old beadle in the synagogue was stabbed to death, and another family of 4 was killed. At the time of the attack there were only 15 Jewish guards in the neighborhood of over 2,000 people. The coast of the Sea of Galilee remained unguarded, for it was the least expected direction for an attack. Two Jewish guards were killed in the attack.[3]

The historian Shai Lachman has attributed the massacre to Abu Ibrahim al-Kabir.[4]

A representative of the British mandate reported that: "It was systematically organized and savagely executed. Of the nineteen Jews killed, including women and children, all save four were stabbed to death. That night and the following day the troops engaged the raiding gangs".[5] After the massacre, the Irgun proposed a joint retaliatory operation with Haganah to deter such events, but the latter group did not agree.[6]

Tiberian Arabs murdered the Jewish mayor, Zaki Alhadif, on 27 October 1938.[7] The Haganah sent a party, led by Yosef Avidar, a Haganah leader who later became a general (Aluf) in the Israel Defense Forces, to investigate the failed defense of the city.[8]

See also



  1. ^ a b "League of Nations Photo Archive - Chronology 1938". Indiana University. October 2002. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2023.
  2. ^ Baruch Kimmerling (1 July 2009). The Palestinian People: A History. Harvard University Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-674-03959-9. Archived from the original on 14 November 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  3. ^ Sefer Hahagana (ספר ההגנה) part B', by the Israeli Defense Ministry (1973)
  4. ^ Lachman, Shai (2015), "Qassamites in the Arab Revolt, 1936-39", Zionism and Arabism in Palestine and Israel, Routledge, ISBN 9781317442721, archived from the original on 14 July 2021, retrieved 30 December 2020
  5. ^ British mandate report United Nations
  6. ^ Yevin, Ada Amichal. In Purple, The Life of Yair - Abraham Stern, Hadar Publishing House, Tel Aviv, 1986, p. 135.
  7. ^ Tidhar, David (1947). "Zaki Alhadif" זאכי אלחדיף. Encyclopedia of the Founders and Builders of Israel (in Hebrew). Vol. 4. Estate of David Tidhar and Touro College Libraries. p. 1860.
  8. ^ M. Gilbert, Israel: A History (1998), p. 85