Alexander Zaid – The story of a Jewish Watchman
“Zaid came from Siberia. His appearance will testify to his origin, fair hair, slow movements, but the total appearance of this young pioneer leaves no room for doubt: I am here and I am not moving …”
(Yitzhak Ben Zvi, the 25th anniversary of the founding of the “Watchman”, Davar, October 21, 1932)
Alexander Zaid (1886-1938) was one of the founders of the Jewish defense organizations, “Bar Giora” , “Hashomer” (The Watchman), “The Kibbutz” and the “Organization of Guards”. He was one of the outstanding figures of the Second Aliyah.
Zaid and the people of the “Watchman” lived on the agricultural settlement in the Galil, Ilaniya (Segera) and worked in farming and guarding. Zaid was sent to every place where problems arose. He guarded in Yavniel and Mesha, he guarded the plowing of disputed lands, and he helped the people of Hadera cope with malaria and the repeated harassment of their Bedouin and Circassian neighbors.
Zaid described what happened while he was guarding the workers plowing the fields in Hadera: “The Circassians and their neighbors attacked the farmers and the horsemen stormed the enemy. I saw Shturman’s horse turning in circles with him astride – the horse had been clubbed on the head – and for a moment I felt my head fall on my chest and I couldn’t lift it. The shock caused me to pass out for a second. But I remained on the saddle and chased the Circassians and that’s how we repulsed the enemy and returned victorious.”
During this period, Zaid married Zipporah Becker of Vilna, who had come to Israel with her older sister, Kayla. Kayla married Israel Giladi, one of the leaders of “The Shomer”. Zaid and others in the organization did not want the organization to establish the moshav, Tel Adashim, adjacent to Afula because they believed that their settlements should be in outlying areas. Therefore, in 1916 they decided to establish the kibbutz, Bar Giora (which would later become Kfar Giladi), in the Upper Galilee. However, Zaid left the kibbutz because he didn’t see eye to eye with the other members, who believed in raising the children in children’s homes, far from their parents. He did not accept their belief that the kibbutz children were “property” of the kibbutz.
In 1938, Alexander Zaid was murdered by Arabs while he was on guard duty.
A statue of the image of Zaid on a horse gazing at the Jezreel Valley. It is located near Givat Zaid.