Remembering the Kfar Etzion Massacre

Stand for Israel  |  May 12, 2020

Survivors of Kfar Etzion Massacre
Survivors of Kfar Etzion Massacre

Today as Israel mourns the loss of a young son killed by terrorists, we also remember the loss of more than a hundred during the Jewish state’s fight for her statehood. The Kfar Etzion Massacre occurred 72 years ago, a day before Israel declared her independence.

An Isolated and Important Place

Kfar Etzion was founded five years earlier in 1943, a kibbutz (communal Israeli farming community). Its formation was important both for its agriculture, but for its tactical location, as well, for it sits in the West Bank between Hebron and Jerusalem.

In 1947, the United Nation laid out its plan for the Holy Land – a plan which would allow for the establishment of the modern state of Israel. Kfar Etzion, however, lay within the Palestinian territory. Convoys of supplies bound for the kibbutz were attacked and those delivering the supplies were killed. Hostilities between the sides grew until May 13, 1948, when Palestinians broke through the isolated settlement’s defenses.

Murder of the Defenseless

Many members of the town were killed during its defense. But when Kfar Etzion was overrun, its residents laid down their arms to surrender. Dozens of Jews were then mowed down by machine gun fire. Twenty women hiding in a cellar were murdered in cold blood. Another fifty in a cellar were blown up with grenades. The people of Kfar Etzion had been massacred. Only four survived the massacre (seen above with their captors).

Israel would declare her independence the very next day, on May 14, 1948. Those lost during the massacre would inspire generations of Israelis to come.

Kfar Etzion Reborn

The area lay in Arab hands until the Six-Day War of 1967. During that conflict, Israel retook Etzion. Children who had been evacuated from the area back in 1948 called for the area to be resettled. Prime Minister Eshkol approved the settlement, and the kibbutz of Kfar Etzion was the first to be settled at war’s end.

May the memories of all those who fell during this historic tragedy be a blessing, as well as all who have fallen defending the Jewish state or to terror attacks upon her people.

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