Killed As Haganah Seeks to Uncover Headquarters of Band Terrorizing Old City
Menu JTA Search

Killed As Haganah Seeks to Uncover Headquarters of Band Terrorizing Old City

Download PDF for this date

One Jew and five Arabs were killed today, and ##ree Jews and seven Arabs wounded during a clash in the mixed Arab-Jewish Romema ##arter of Jerusalem’s Old City.

An Arab band which attempted to break into the Neve Shalom quarter of Tel ##viv, in the district bordering Jaffa, was repulsed by Haganah reinforcements. Meanwhile, Dr. Hugo Lers, a Jew, who was director of the government hospital for con##agious diseases at Bet Safafa, southwest of Jerusalem, was killed by an Arab sniper while walking on the hospital grounds.Country-wide attacks on Jewish convoys continued, as funeral services were held in Jerusalem for seven persons killed on Friday while travelling in convoys. Jewish Agency and Haganah officials are growing increasingly restive as a result of the government’s failure to furnish adequate protection to inter-urban traffic, particularly along the vital Jerusalem-Tel Aviv route.

The Romema fight developed when several Haganah members entered the home of the Romema mukhtar, accusing him and his sons of being in contact with an Arab band which has set up headquarters in the district and has been terrorizing the Jewish residents. When the mukhter and his sons displayed resistance, the militiamen fired, killing two of the sons and the mukhtar.

The Haganah unit was then attacked, as it sought to retreat, by gunmen firing from three neighboring houses. Taking up positions outside the houses, the Jews returned the fire, and a sharp exchange continued until the arrival of police who fired “into the air,” killing a 16-year-old Jewish youth. A crowd of Jews then attacked a British sergeant whom they accused of killing the boy, but were dispersed by the police.


Hundreds of mourners attending services for the convoy victims could hear the whiz of the bullets and the sound of shots, but the services were not disrupted. The cortege was preceeded by Haganah units followed by shock troops in mufti. A brief eulogy was delivered by Chief Rabbi Ben Zion Usiel, who paid tribute to the Jewish spirit of resistance and self-sacrifice.

Among those buried was Abraham Zinger, a young Hebrew University student, and expert in the Hebrew and Asmarian languages, who was killed during Arab attacks yesterday in the Katamon quarter, where both Jews and Arabs live. An Arab damaged a Jewish children’s home there and demolished a bookshop belong to a Jewish war veteran. In a series of clashes which developed, an Arab gang leader was killed. Police then searched the quarter, arresting 16 Haganah members, but not molesting the Arabs.

Similar action was taken this morning in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa battle, when a British armored car entered the Neve Shalom quarter, and began searching for arms among the Haganah defenders, while ignoring the Arab attackers. Meanwhile, one Jewish settler was missing and five suffered serious wounds when Arabs attacked Kfar Yavetz, north of Tel Aviv.

The violence in Haifa and the surrounding area diminished during the week-end, although one Jew was killed on Saturday when Arab Legion troops joined in attacks on Jewish vehicles. The Legionnaires claimed that the Jews had fired first, but the police established that their story was false. However, nothing was done to remove the Arab troops from their post.


A Jewish Agency spokesman commented today, with some bitterness, that the government had promised that it would have the situation on the roads “well in hand” by last Thursday evening. He reiterated that the authorities were not protecting Jewish traffic and that the government should make up its mind to do so, or allow the Haganah to take over. He pointed out that Arab convoys travel under heavy escort of British troops and Arab Legionnaires.

Informed observers feel that if the present situation continues, a clash between the British and the Haganah is inevitable, since under no circumstances can the Agency permit the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway to be cut. The spokesman also attacked the government’s failure to halt the increasing number of robberies and the desertion of Arab police with their arms.

The most recent robbery occurred last midnight when a train was held up 40 miles south of Haifa and 131 sacks of mail destined for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were seized, as well as large quantities of beans, cereals and cement, and also the arms of the Arab police escort.


A large Arab band late yesterday attacked a group of Jews guarding a water piepline to the Negev near the village of Amara. Shots were exchanged, resulting in casualties on both sides. Jewish reinforcements beat off the Arabs after a two-hour battle in which two Jews were killed and two were wounded. Later, British troops arrived and arrested all of the Jewish guards, including the wounded. No Arabs were arrested.

After a day of firing from the Salameh section of Jaffa into the Hatikvah section of Tel Aviv, a Haganah unit last night in a surprise move attacked an Arab band, inflicting many casualties at close-range fighting. The other Arabs fled, abandoning their arms. There were no Jewish casualties.

Yesterday, the Haganah also attacked a Bedouin encampment near Mt. Carmel which has been serving as an assembly center for Arab gangs intent on hampering Jewish traffic. One Arab child was killed and several Arabs were wounded. In another incident yesterday, ten armed Arabs attacked a police station and made off with numerous rifles and uniforms.

Jerusalem was a batt field early Saturday when Arabs launched several simultaneous attacks in various parts of the city, beginning in the Old City and ending in the Beth Israel quarter. Fourteen Jews were waunded in the attacks, several seriously. The Haganah then launched several counter-attacks, with the first one concentrated on the village of Silwan, outside Jerusalem, where five houses were destroyed. One Arab child was killed and two were wounded. Silwan was attacked, a Haganah spokesman declared, because its inhabitants menace convoys from the Dead Sea and continually engage in sniping at Jewish funerals.

Armed Arabs ambushed a convoy of six Jewish trucks in the Gaza section late last night, wounding several Jews. The convoy withdrew, opening fire on the Arab vehicles as it moved off. Two Arabs were reportedly killed and nine wounded, according to an official announcement.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund