Safed Still in Mourning and Bewilderment, but Pioneers’ Spirit Unbroken
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Safed Still in Mourning and Bewilderment, but Pioneers’ Spirit Unbroken

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I have just returned from a three day tour of the Emek, the Valley of Jezreel, and Upper Galilee with Col. Frederick H. Kisch. At Tiberias, despite a local peace pact, I found a hysterical, nervous strain, although the peace was preserved. But at Migdal there were several cases of incendiarism and robbery. There, too, the military protection is imperfect, the Commanding Officer wrongly accusing the Jews of giving false alarms.

Safed is plunged in mourning and bewilderment. I saw many Jews, who yesterday were well-to-do, standing in the breadlines. Dozens who left their homes to seek protection at the Governor’s house, returned thirty-six hours later to find everything destroyed. All they have left in the world are the clothes in which they stand.

The looted and burned houses present a ghastly sight. Looting continued for thirty hours after the massacre.

For several days before the attack the local police commander, Farraday, vainly implored for military help.

The old type of Jew in the town asks, dazed: “Why was Turkey able to preserve our lives and property, but England is not?”

Yesod Hamaaleh was completely robbed. No casualties occurred there.


The spirit among the youth, the pioneers in the colonies in the Emek and Upper Galilee, is astounding. At Beth Alpha, which withstood five attacks, they are indomitable and unshaken. Not one Jew fell during the defense of the colony, but there were many casualties among the Arab attackers. Encouraging as this may be for the present, it may not be a guarantee of future peace, as the Bedouins, true to their ancient tradition, may seek to revenge for each of their tribe killed. This creates a dangerous position for the Beth Alpha settlers, but not one of them is willing or prepared to quit. Kfar Gileadi and Tel Hai, which were not attacked, stand unafraid. One colony, asked if military help is needed, replied proudly in the negative. In Metullah, the sculptor Melnikoff is calmly continuing his work on the statue of Joseph Trumpeldor, pioneer hero who died in defense of the Galilee colony Tel Hai.

In Degania, as elsewhere, guards are needed. It is impossible to carry out work in the fields, such as irrigation and weeding, where the settlers would have to work away from the group. This will result in damage for the crop.

The interference with regular shipment of produce will also cause losses. Bananas and other goods, ready for shipment, are beginning to rot.

Sir John Chancellor’s second proclamation produced a bad effect. The impression of an incomprehensible vacillation has left the Yishub startled and disappointed.

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