Fajja bus attacks

On November 30, 1947, an Egged bus on its way to Jerusalem from Netanya was attacked by Arab militants, followed by an attack on another bus, killing seven Jews. It was thought to be retaliation for the Shubaki family assassination, which had taken place 10 days earlier. It was the first attack in the 1947–1948 civil war in Mandatory Palestine, following the UN's adoption of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine which took place the day before.[1]

Fajja bus attacks
Part of the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine
The first shots in 1948 Arab-Israel War.jpg
Memorial to the people killed in the attack
Locationnear Fajja, Mandatory Palestine
DateNovember 30, 1947 (75 years, 3 months and 22 days ago)
PerpetratorsArab militants


The first bus was the Jerusalem-bound Egged bus #2094 which had left Netanya around 7:30 AM with 21 passengers.[2] The bus was driving through the now-depopulated village of Fajja when it was intercepted by three Arabs waving, who the bus driver assumed to be hitchhikers. As he slowed down the vehicle he was met with gunfire, derailing the train off the road.[3]

The attackers stormed the bus and shot multiple people. Five Jews were killed, including a 22-year-old woman on her way to her wedding and a man who was killed trying to protect his wife.[3]

Twenty-five minutes after, a second bus going to Hadera[3] received the same treatment. Two passengers were killed.[4][5]

Mordechai Olmert, the father of future Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was one of the people who survived the second attack.[6]

Aftermath and historical contextEdit

The attack occurred one day after the United Nations voted to establish a Partition Plan for Mandatory Palestine that involved splitting the British-administered region into two states: An Arab state and a Jewish one.[2] An Arab General strike was declared, fueling the crisis.[7] The ambush was also the first attack during the 1947–1948 civil war in Mandatory Palestine.[8]

The attack is portrayed in Israel as a protest against the UN resolution. However, it has been suggested by some historians, including Benny Morris, that it was a retaliation for the Shubaki family assassination, the killing of five Palestinian Arabs by Lehi near Herzliya, ten days' prior to the incident (who were in turn taking revenge because one of the members of the family had informed to the British about LEHI activities)..[9][10] Morris however noted in a later study that the exact motives were unclear.[8] It was the majority view of the Haganah Intelligence Service that the primary motive of the attackers was retaliation for the Shubaki killings; this was supported by an Arab flyer posted shortly after on walls in Jaffa.[11] According to Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman the attack was committed by forces loyal to Palestinian rebel Hasan Salama.[12]

American academic Robert I. Rotberg also pointed out there was a possibility it was a revenge attack.[5]


  1. ^ "This Day in Jewish History / Civil War Breaks Out in Palestine". Haaretz. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  2. ^ a b "Another tack: Transcending all other considerations". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  3. ^ a b c "Another Tack: Forget the 30th of November". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  4. ^ Times, Sam Pope Brewerspecial To the New York (1947-12-01). "PALESTINE'S ARABS KILL SEVEN JEWS, CALL 3-DAY STRIKE; Buses Fired On From Ambush -- Higher Committee Adopts Plans Against Partition MOSLEM WORLD INDIGNANT Flag Torn Down as Mob Attacks U.S. Legation in Damascus -- Holy War Threatened PALESTINE'S ARABS KILL SEVEN JEWS TROUBLE ERUPTS IN PALESTINE AND SYRIA". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  5. ^ a b Rotberg, Robert I. (2006). Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History's Double Helix. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-21857-5.
  6. ^ שגב, תום (2007-12-04). "החלל הראשון". Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  7. ^ "Lashing Back - Israel's 1947-1948 Civil War". World History Group. 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  8. ^ a b Morris, Benny (1999). Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-679-74475-7. On the morning of November 30 a band of Arabs ambushed a bus near Kfar Syrkin, killing five Jews and wounding several others. Twenty-five minutes later they let loose at a second bus, killing two more people. It is unclear whether the ambushes were triggered by the passage of the UN resolution or by a desire to avenge an earlier LHI raid, which had left five Arabs dead. Another Jew was murdered on November 30 by Arabs on the border between Jaffa and Tel Aviv. These were the first casualties of the first Arab-Israeli war.
  9. ^ Morris, R.F.T.I.B.; Morris, B.; Clancy-Smith, J.A.; Benny, M.; Gershoni, I.; Owen, R.; Tripp, C.; Sayigh, Y.; Tucker, J.E. (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge Middle East Studies. Cambridge University Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6. Traditionally, Zionist historiography has cited these attacks as the first acts of Palestinian violence against the partition resolution. But it is probable that the attacks were not directly linked to the resolution – and were a product either of a desire to rob Jews... or of a retaliatory cycle that had begun with a British raid on a LHI training exercise (after an Arab had informed the British about the exercise), that resulted in several Jewish dead... The LHI retaliated by executing five members of the beduin Shubaki clan near Herzliya...; and the Arabs retaliated by attacking the buses on 30 Nov....
  10. ^ Radai, Itamar (2015). Palestinians in Jerusalem and Jaffa, 1948: A Tale of Two Cities. Routledge Studies on the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Taylor & Francis. p. 237. ISBN 978-1-317-36805-2. Retrieved 2022-04-17. In November they again strove to cool tempers, following an attack on a Jewish bus on its way to Holon, in retaliation against the killing of five young men of the Shubaki family by LEHI gunmen (who were in turn taking revenge because one of the members of the family had informed to the British about LEHI activities).
  11. ^ Morris, B. (2009). 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. Yale University Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-300-15112-1. Retrieved 2022-04-17. …the majority view in the HIS—supported by an anonymous Arab flyer posted almost immediately on walls in Jaffa—was that the attackers were driven primarily by a desire to avenge an LHI raid ten days before on a house near Raganana belonging to the Abu Kishk bedouin tribe.
  12. ^ Bergman, Ronen (2019-07-09). Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations. Random House Publishing Group. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8129-8211-4.