THE FIRST MARTYR TO ZIONISM WAS AN ORTHODOX JEW. Yaakov Yisrael Dehan – July 1, 1924.
(From the newsletter of Neturei Karta in Jerusalem â€“ Hachoma, Tammuz-July 5762/2002)
The young martyr, Dr. Yaakov Yisrael Dehan was murdered on July 1, 1924. He was a man who devoted all his energies and the best years of his life to saving the remnant of loyal Jews, and to promote peace with the veteran Arab residents of the Holy Land. Through his knowledge of politics and diplomacy, Dehan contributed much to crystallizing an independent position for Orthodox Jewry unaffiliated with the Zionist leadership.
At a time when the first followers of the Zionist movement began streaming into the Holy Land in large numbers, defiling the holiness of the land, and by virtue of their idiotic ideas began to work to expel the Arabs who had been living there for centuries in order to establish a Zionist state.
The Zionists first approached the British authorities by pretending to present themselves as the representatives of the Jewish nation, who desired to establish a ‘national home’ without any regard whatsoever of the fact that the vast majority of the Jewish People opposed Zionism in those days. However, through their various contacts, the Zionists managed to bring about the Balfour Declaration (known among our rabbis of the time as the Baal Peor Declaration â€“ a pun referring to the idolatry mentioned in the Bible), based on the ‘right’ of the Jews to establish a state in Palestine, and ultimately the state itself to our great misfortune.
Good relations existed between the Jewish and Arab communities, and the leadership of the Orthodox Jewish community conducted themselves according to the principles of Judaism, never provoking their non-Jewish neighbors. The Arabs were very friendly and neighborly, and a spirit of mutual respect was typical.
When the winds of Zionism began to blow through Palestine, the Arabs began to change their attitude because of the fact that they heard that the ‘Jews’ wanted to grab the Land from them and expel them. Of course, they did not distinguish between the Zionist troublemakers and the members of the loyal authentic Jewish community that advocated tolerance and peace. There were outbreaks of violence here and there, until bloodshed began and many people died.
However, instead of learning from this experience that brought suffering upon the Jewish People in the Holy Land, and ceasing their dangerous lawless behavior, the Zionists used these events as ‘additional proof’ for the need for a state and an army to protect the Jews from violence. Jewish blood was of no importance to the Zionists in comparison to their ‘lofty’ nationalist goals.
It was clear to the leaders of the Orthodox community that there was an immediate need for an organization to confront the Zionist organization, and demand that the British desist from endorsing the idea of a Zionist state, and resolve Arab-Jewish tensions peacefully.
A great and unexpected opportunity presented itself in the form of Dr. Yaakov Yisrael Dehan, who had embraced Judaism from a life of secularism, and had made his way to the Orthodox community of Jerusalem during those difficult days. He sensed the truth, and from then on never ceased to march with the great rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld, who wisely advised Dehan.
Dehan established extensive contacts with many governmental authorities in Europe, including the English, and proceeded to carry out his work immediately. In no time at all he transformed the loyal Jewish community from a tiny one without any international recognition to a community standing up against the Zionist heretics. He and other members of the community represented the Orthodox Jews under the name of ‘Eida Haredis’ (G-d-Fearing Community), and represented the position of the loyal Jewish community.
It goes without saying that the Eida Haredis was accepted warmly among non-Jews, much moreso than was the case with the Zionists â€“ both because of the fact that the Eida Haredis represented traditional, authentic Judaism against Zionism that openly rejected Judaism in its entirety, and because of the fact that the Orthodox position made more sense in order to prevent bloodshed and promote harmony in Palestine.
Dr. Dehan then organized a delegation of Orthodox leaders to meet with Arab leaders headed by King Abdullah. The Jewish delegation was headed by Rabbi Zonnenfeld, and was welcomed by the Arabs like royalty. The king even gave them expensive gifts as a sign of his affection. Of course the Zionists were gritting their teeth when they learned of this event, and saw the possibility that all of their projects may end up collapsing in front of their very eyes. The Zionists began their attacks against the loyal Jewish community in general, and against Dr. Dehan in particular. They slandered him with increasing brutality until they went so far as to call for his murder.
In those days the G-d-fearing Jews were persecuted greatly by the Zionists, and whenever they ran into Dehan in the street they would insult him. However, Dehan never ceased his holy work on behalf of our rabbis. When the Zionists realized that their persecution of Dehan had no effect, they decided to kill him.
In a plan approved by the leading Haganah Zionists a number of young Zionists encountered Dr. Dehan as he left the Shaarei Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. The Zionist Avraham Tahomi, may his name be obliterated, shot Dehan three times in the chest, and shortly thereafter Dehan expired, returning his soul to heaven. This murder was carried out with the approval of the Zionist leadership.
On that fateful day of July 1, 1924, when the Zionists committed their crime, for which we suffer to this very day and still do not see the end in sight, they shot him in his pure heart. But they did not only shoot him and kill him, but they shot and killed the entire People, thereby preventing any plan that did not comply with their wicked intentions.
Nevertheless, some seventy-eight years after that horrible day, there is still a community of Jews following in the authentic path, and refusing to bow to the Zionist idol. It is in large measure due to the selfless holy efforts of Yaakov Dehan, a martyr of his people who paved the way with self-sacrifice that there are still Jews who refuse to succumb to the Zionist regime of heretics despite the fact that the Zionists overpower the authentic Jews with their laws and power, It is in the merit of Yaakov Dahan that there are still Jews today throughout the world who stand and announce unflinchingly their unswerving loyalty to the countries in which they live, and that there are still Jews in this world who declare to the nations of world that the Zionists and their state has no link with Judaism or the Jewish People.
His murder proved to every loyal Jew that the Zionists appearing on the scene were no friends of the Jewish People, but were murderers who hated Judaism, something that was the beginning of the opportunity of recognizing the enemy. On the most recent anniversary of Dehanâ€™s murder we remembered the good work of Dr. Yaakov Yisrael Dehan on behalf of authentic Judaism in his war against Zionism and its wicked plans. Let us learn from his work to strengthen our resolve and dedication in refusing to bow to the Zionist idol, and to pray for divine providence to redeem the world.