“I Call Myself an American Disneyland Jew”

UPDATE 7 pm Sunday: The last two hours have seen Palestinian terrorists attack Israeli motorists on the Hizma Road and near Efrat.



The Knesset Yisrael Yeshiva in Hebron in 1911:


Jews in Hebron’s Abraham Avinu Synagogue, 1925:


A story in the news this morning involves American actor Mandy Patinkin who is in Israel filming episodes of the American television series “Homeland”–and doing everything he can to undermine and delegitimize Israel.

Before leaving the U.S. on his trip, Patinkin had already let his ideas be known on Israeli political issues by signing a petition expressing support for Israeli actors and actresses who refuse to perform in Judea and Samaria, particularly those performers who signed a petition to boycott appearing in Ariel.

Upon arrival in Israel a couple of weeks ago, Patinkin reports that he traveled around Judea and Samaria “to learn about political issues” with Hagit Ofran of so-called “Peace Now” who took him to Ariel and with the group of delegitimizers “Breaking the Silence” who took him to Hebron.

Yesterday, Patinkin took time out from his “busy” schedule to give a motivational speech to the Israeli “left” at its second annual convention in Tel Aviv. The core of that speech was Patinkin talking about his few hours of  “experiences” in Hebron.

It seems that 30 years ago Patinkin went to Hebron to the Cave of the Patriarchs in order to study for his role in the movie Yentl.  At that time, according to Patinkin, Hebron was a bustling city–and the car carrying he and his pregnant wife Kathryn was immediately surrounded by playful children and helpful men offering to take them around the Cave complex.

Patinkin contrasted that with the Hebron he saw on his selective Breaking the Silence tour the other day: “Everything was a ghost tomb. Every beautiful place I had seen thirty years ago was boarded up. The doors were sealed. We went into the Cave and it was a very different feeling.”

Patinkin then whined that he just couldn’t bring himself to buy a souvenir cup or plate with the word “Hebron” at the Arab Gift Shop beside the Cave because  “by the time I left, I did not want a memory of this place the way it is now.” The way it is now is that Jews have returned to Hebron in numbers.

Your humble servant wonders if Patinkin knows that Jews lived in Hebron beside the Cave of the Patriarchs for over 3000 consecutive years until the morning of August 4, 1929.

At 9:00 am that morning, Patinkin’s peaceful lovable Arabs of Hebron  suddenly and barbarically attacked Hebron’s Jewish community. 67 Jews were killed–59 were butchered on the spot, and 8 more died in hospitals later. Of the dead, 52 were men and boys, 12 were women and girls, and 3 were children under the age of three. Every Jewish synagogue in Hebron was ransacked as was the Jewish hospital in the town.

Raymond Cafferata, the only Jewish policeman in Hebron among a police force of 40, gave this account to the British commission that investigated the massacre in 1929-30:

“On hearing screams in a room I went up a sort of tunnel passage and saw an Arab in the act of cutting off a child’s head with a sword. He had already hit him and was having another cut, but on seeing me he tried to aim the stroke at me, but missed; he was practically on the muzzle of my rifle. I shot him low in the groin. Behind him was a Jewish woman smothered in blood with a man I recognized as an Arab police constable named Issa Sheriff . . .  He was standing over the woman with a dagger in his hand. He saw me and bolted into a room close by and tried to shut me out-shouting in Arabic, “Your Honor, I am a policeman.” . . . I got into the room and shot him.”

A Hebron Jew just after his death in a hospital--following the massacre in Hebron.

A Jewish survivor in Hebron who had his hand hacked off by Arabs during the massacre.

A Jewish mother with her wounded child after the 1929 riots:


Reports of the Hebron massacre were immediately transmitted around the world:

The headline in the Baltimore News.

In the aftermath of the slaughter in Hebron, British authorities ordered an evacuation of all Jews from the city. Yet 160 Jews bravely returned 2 years later only to be forced to leave again between 1937 and 1939 after more Arab rioting. It was not until 1967 that Israelis began to move back into Hebron. Today there are over 500 Israelis living in the old Jewish Quarter of Hebron near the Cave of the Patriarchs and another 8,000 living on the outskirts of the city in the city of  Kiryat Arba.

Patinkin concluded his speech with this curious description of himself and of American Jews: “I call myself an American Disneyland Jew. We can do whatever we want. We can say whatever we want. We are safe. We are never attacked. We live in freedom.”

Well good for you Mandy Patinkin. The next time you deign to offer your opinion about politics in Israel why don’t you get more information about the subject than just what Peace Now or Breaking the Silence says–and before you offer that opinion, come live in freedom in Israel where you are free to do and say whatever you want–but you are also on the front lines against terrorism. Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk.

*Picture source in this blog: http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~dhershkowitz/index2.html

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