This Week in Israeli History: Tuvia Grossman – The Bloodied “Palestinian,” The Rebel Shofar Blower and Bar Giora

 Tuvia Grossman – The Bloodied “Palestinian”
On September 30, 2000, an image of a bloodied “Palestinian” teenager crouching in front of a club-wielding Israeli policeman made front page headlines in the Associated Press, New York Times, and other major media outlets around the world. The caption, “An Israeli policeman and a Palestinian on the Temple Mount,” implied that the Israeli policeman was the cause for this unknown “Palestinian’s” battered state.
But this teenager was not a Palestinian Arab – he was Tuvia Grossman, a Jewish American yeshiva student who was pulled from his taxi in Jerusalem by a mob of Arabs and beaten to within an inch of his life. Tuvia managed to make a run for it and found an Israeli border policeman before collapsing due to blood loss. The policeman, Gidon Tzefadi, succeeded in warding off the assailants and called an ambulance for the severely injured Grossman.
Upon seeing the image of his son in the New York Times, Alan Grossman sent the following letter to the newspaper: “…that Palestinian is actually my son, Tuvia Grossman, a Jewish student from Chicago. He, and two of his friends, were pulled from their taxicab while traveling in Jerusalem, by a mob of Palestinian Arabs, and were severely beaten and stabbed. That picture could not have been taken on the Temple Mount because there are no gas stations on the Temple Mount and certainly none with Hebrew lettering, like the one clearly seen behind the Israeli soldier attempting to protect my son from the mob.”
Although a retraction was issued, considerable damage was already done as the infamous picture circulated worldwide casting the Israeli policeman as the perpetrator. Today, Tuvia’s image can still be found in anti-Israel propaganda.
In 2010, Tuvia (who immigrated to Israel five years prior) finally met the police officer who saved his life.
Rabbi Moshe Segal – The Rebel Shofar Blower
Moshe was born in the Russian Empire in 1904. At the age of 20 he immigrated to Mandatory Palestine and joined the Haganah, and was also one of the first Jews in the Holy Land to join the Revisionist Zionist movement, Betar.
In 1929, Rabbi Segal organized the first of his many activities against the British in the form of a protest march to the Western Wall on Tisha B’av, a Jewish fast day on which the British did not allow Jews to pray at the Wall. The following year, the rabbi performed perhaps one of the most significant and galvanizing activities of his life: sounding the shofar at the Western Wall.
Due to the restrictions placed on Jewish worshipers by the British, sounding the shofar at the Western Wall was deemed illegal. Nonetheless, Rabbi Segal could not fathom ending the Yom Kippur service without sounding the ritual shofar. As the prayer concluded, Moshe sounded the shofar and was immediately arrested by the British.
When news of his deed reached Chief Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, he announced that he would not break his Yom Kippur fast until Moshe would be free, which he was later that night. From then on, Jewish youths carried on Moshe’s tradition of sounding the shofar at the culmination of the Yom Kippur service. Every year the British would lurk, waiting to arrest the Jewish “felons,” and every year another Jewish youth would blow the shofar.
In 1931, Moshe was appointed commander over the Betar movement in Jerusalem, and soon joined the Irgun (Etzel) and served on its High Command. During that time, Rabbi Segal founded the “Brit Hashmonaim” (lit. The Alliance of the Hasmonean), a religious nationalist youth movement whose members often joined the Jewish underground. After Yitzhak Shamir escaped from jail and sought to revitalize the fading Lehi, Rabbi Segal joined the Lehi and decided to direct his Brit Hashmonaim members to join as well.
As a result, over 150 Brit members joined and helped bolster the organization at a time when it was much needed. After Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six Day War, Rabbi Segal was the first Jew to resettle in the Old City of Jerusalem. There he lived with his family and headed many organizations and initiated many plans to restore old synagogues that were destroyed.
In 1974, he received the coveted “Yakir Yerushalayim” prize for his contributions to the city. Rabbi Segal passed away in 1985 on Yom Kippur (September 25).
Bar Giora - First Modern Jewish Defense Organization in the Land of Israel
Bar Giora was established in the basement of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi’s Jaffa residence on September 29, 1907, when pioneers from the Second Aliyah gathered to find a solution for the escalating Arab attacks on Jewish towns.
Up until that point Jews did not guard their own settlements, rather the Yishuv outsourced the work to Arabs and Circassians. Led by Ben-Zvi (later Israel’s 2nd president), Alexander Zaid, Yisrael Giladi, Yisrael Shochat and others, Bar Giora sought to establish a precedent of Jewish defense in the Land of Israel.
Named after Simon Bar Giora, a prominent leader of the Jewish Revolt against the Romans, the organization elected Yisrael Shochat as commander. Members of Bar Giora trained in weaponry and guarded Jewish villages, property, and crops.
Bar-Giora chose a line from Yaakov Cohen's poem, Habiryonim, as their slogan - a slogan that would later be adopted by Hashomer and the revisionist self-defense organization, Brit HaBirionim: "In fire and blood Judea fell; in blood and fire Judea shall rise!"
In 1909 Bar-Giora evolved into Hashomer, the precursor to the Haganah that would later evolve into the Israel Defense Forces.