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Baruch Goldstein

Baruch Goldstein was a Brooklyn-born Jewish Fundamentalist living in Israel. He killed some 29 Muslims at Sabbath prayer on Friday, February 25, 1994, in the Cave of the Patriarchs, a Hebron site holy both to Muslims and Jews. By profession a physician, he lived as a settler in Kiryat Arba. For years prior to the massacre, Goldstein had served as a physician in the Israeli army, first as a conscript, then in the reserve forces. After being initially subdued with a fire extinguisher, Goldstein was beaten to death by survivors.

Rioting immediately following the massacre caused the deaths of another 26 Palestinians and 2 Israelis.

Trial investigation testimony raised the possibility Goldstein had an accomplice - two Israeli army guards testified that a second settler entered Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs on February 25 shortly after gunman Goldstein, and that when Goldstein went into the tomb he was armed with a different gun from the Galil assault rifle found by his body. The second settler was carrying a Galil, they said. This testimony was never confirmed.

Goldstein's actions were immediately condemned by the Israeli government, and the Israeli populace in general. Spokespeople in all of the organized denominations of Judaism denounced his act as immoral and as terrorism.

He has become a hero among some of Israel's right-wing extremists. Some extremists set up a tombstone for him which read "To the saint Baruch Goldstein... who gave his life for the Jewish people, its Torah and his country; of clean hands and a pure heart". Members of the banned Kach organization, to which he belonged, glorify his mass murder. Most Israelis were repulsed by this action, and Israelis lobbied their representatives to take some action against this glorification of his actions. In 1998, a bill was passed in the Israeli Knesset that forbade the erection of monuments to terrorists; in 2000 a small shrine built around Goldstein's tomb was demolished; at the time it was also declared that a discussion of the wording above was pending.

Goldstein left behind a wife and 4 children.

See also: Kach -- Hebron -- Ami Popper


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