Published on Aug 22, 2021
(16 Feb 1995) English/Nat

Jewish settlers on Thursday marked the first anniversary of the Hebron massacre by praying at the grave of the gunman who killed 29 Muslim worshippers.

They praised Baruch Goldstein as a holy man who helped to deter Arabs from attacking Jews.

Goldstein is revered as a hero by Jewish settlers.

They have nothing but praise for his actions on February 25, 1994, when he shot and killed 29 Muslims at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

(Although the massacre happened on February 25th, it took place on the 16th according to the Jewish calendar.)

Some 300 mourners turned up for the memorial service at the site of Goldstein's grave in Kiryat Arba on the West Bank.

During the service, the leader of the anti-Arab group Kahane Chai, Benjamin Kahane, said it was a special day.

He also threatened more violence against Palestinians - referring to the Hebron massacre as one explosion, he predicted there would be another one.

In Kiryat Arba, where Goldstein lived, posters commemorating his death were plastered on electricity poles and bulletin boards.

T-shirts bearing his photo and other "mementos" were sold at his gravesite and proved popular among the mourners.

There was nothing but praise for the gunman.

Noam Federman, head of the right-wing Kach movement, welcomed Goldstein's act.

"His act improved the security conditions for the Jews here."
SUPER CAPTION: Noam Federman - head of right-wing Kach movement

The army had declared Hebron and adjacent Kiryat Arba closed military areas in an attempt to reduce attendance at the memorial service and prevent violence.

But that still couldn't keep away the worshipers.

"A person who is willing to sacrifice his life for the security of the nation, even if people think he is wrong, I don't think that it is wrong, I think that it is holy and the person is holy too."
SUPER CAPTION: Noam Federman - head of right-wing Kach movement

The Israeli government repeatedly stressed it did not condone Goldstein's actions.

"We condemn all kind of gathering of people who come to pay tribute to his memory, because he was a murderer and he should be remembered as a murderer."
SUPER CAPTION: Uri Dromi - government spokesman

But it is clear that for many Jewish settlers, Goldstein is a hero, who dared to take action against the Palestinians.

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