Background on Har Homa
The decision to develop Har Homa has caused a furor among Palestinian leaders, who charge that by unilaterally deciding to build in East Jerusalem the government is endangering the peace process. David Myr also opposes the government's decision, but for an entirely different reason. He is the manager of Makor, a publicly owned company that owns approximately 60% of Har Homa. Since purchasing the land in 1970, he has tried unsuccessfully to bring his vision for Har Homa - which includes a shopping center, hotels, a golf course, country club, and public park - to fruition, weaving his way through Israel's vast bureaucratic machine.
In 1991, after Makor and the government finally arrived at an agreement for building much needed apartment units, the government reneged on the deal, confiscating the Makor owned land as well as land from the other Jewish and Arab landowners.
In order to avoid the political storm that would result from confiscating privately owned land, Makor proposed an alternate plan. Created by Ram Karmi, the same architect who also had drafted the previous plan at the behest of both Makor and the government, the case went before the Israeli High Court in May 1993. The court decided to cancel the confiscation on the condition that Makor and the government agree on the planning and a timetable for the construction, and that Makor bear infrustructure costs.
After the government rejected Makor's offer to develop the land a second time, it came up with its own plan, which according to Myr would come at a higher cost to the Israeli economy. He proposed a way to save $800 million, under which Makor would pay for public buildings and infrustructure, reduce the price of apartments by 10%, and turn over all profits to a humanitarian fund. The government refused the offer, and began to look for other investors.
Myr suspects that hidden interests lie at the heart of the Har Homa matter. In 1994 he attempted to buy out the other Jewish landowners, offering them 5% above the government price. Their refusal continues to baffle Myr, who says that the government must have made them offers of which he is unaware. He cannot understand why the government continues to dismiss his plan, which has been agreed to by Palestinian land owners at Har Homa, since it would allow them to build on their own property.
Myr is now waiting to hear from the Israeli Supreme Court, hoping it will cancel the land confiscation. After 27 years he still clings to his dream of turning Har Homa into a residential neighborhood. Unfortunately, Har Homa appears more likely to be associated with demonstrations and riots in the near future, instead of a place where people live.
Killing a Dream:
Last week [Thursday, 21st February, 1997], the Palestinian paramilitary police arrested three people charged with direct involvement in the death of Yousef Baba [Yussef Ismail al Baba], 32, who died as a result of torture during interrogation in a Palestinian Authority (PA)-controlled Shchem/Nablus prison earlier this month. In addition to the suspected perpetrators in the PA Military Intelligence Service, the police also arrested a doctor, his assistant and two nurses working at Rafidya Hospital where Baba died.
The arrest of the medical personnel is probably meant to quell further leaks of information about how al Baba died; the perpetrators will soon be released but their detention will appease criticism that has been leveled at the fledgling Palestinian administration for yet another abuse of human rights and jurisdictional privileges said Khader Shkirat, director of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW). The arrests came the same day that Washington, DC-based Human Rights Watch petitioned the leaders of the EU to confront Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat with the "arbitrary and abusive" activity of his security forces. Since the EU is the primary funding source of the PA [[having provided about one billion dollars in unmonitored aid to the Palestinians over the last three years]] it has a special reponsibility to assure that it goes to support "peaceful rather than police" activity said Kenneth Roth, Watch executive director.
For months, Bassem Eid, founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, has been urging the European community to impose sanctions on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to moderate its "flagrant violations of human rights in areas under its control" emphasizing that "torture and arbritrary arrest are routine". He too asked for "earmarked donations for social projects or requirements of accountability noting that there are officially 80,000 "police" in 11 separate government security forces, for a population of 2 million and that close to 2000 political prisoners have been held in PA jails for over 6 months without charge and that most were tortured "as if routine".
al Baba, a land dealer suspected of making an improper property sale, was arrested on January 3. He is the 11th Palestinian prisoner known to have been tortured to death in PA custody since 1993. Rafidiya Hospital sources said that he first arrived at the hospital on January 30, with welts and cigarette burns along the length of his body, rope marks around his hands and feet, and his arms bruised and swollen. Despite his serious condition, his interrogators took him back to prison the same day, but returned him two days later, where he died within an hour of massive internal hemorrhage.
His body was given to his family for burial, only after it had been thoroughly autopsied and was in a state of considerable decay said Shkirat, who was allowed to photograph the body; it was still possible to see that he had been tortured. al Baba's entire medical record disappeared from their files "as if he didn't exist" a fact confirmed by PA Justice Minister Freih Abu Medein who also acknowledged his arbitrary arrest and that the conditions to release the corpse included no further autopsy and agreement to bury the body immediately.
Amnesty International reported that "on no [previous] occasion has the report of any investigation or inquiry known to have been published or even made available to victims or human rights organizations; usually no report is even known to have been made."
Dr Rachelle H. B. Fishman
Voice: +972-6-639-6651, Fax: +972-6-639-8880
For the man whose knowledge is not in order, the more which he has
of it, the greater will be his confusion.
P.A. Agrees to Transfer Burned Boy to Hadassah
The Palestinian Authority has finally agreed to transfer to Hadassah-University Hospital's pediatric intensive care unit a four-and-a-half-year-old Bethlehem boy in critical condition, with burns suffered in an accident over a week ago.
Before the boy's plight was publicized, the PA had wanted to move him to a Jordanian hospital, apparently for political and financial reasons, but doctors at Jerusalem's Hospital said such a trip could endanger his life.
The boy, Amir Buja, was standing next to his 14-year-old cousin, who was preparing a bonfire to mark the end of the Ramadan fast. The cousin poured paint thinner over the wood, and it exploded in Buja's face, causing severe burns. He was rushed in critical condition to Bethlehem Hospital, which transferred him to Mokassed, even though it doesn't have a burns unit.
Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director of Hadassah-University Hospital in Ein Kerem, agreed to find a place for him in the pediatric intensive care unit of its new Mother-and-Child Center and reduce the diagnostic-related group charge set by the Health Ministry for burns cases from NIS 100,000 to NIS 60,000.
MK Taleb a-Sanaa appealed to Health Minister Yehoshua Matza, who used the incident to illustrate the problem of the PA's "takeover" of Mokassed and four other eastern Jerusalem hospitals in recent months. Yesterday, the PA told an intermediary that it would pay NIS 60,000 for the boy's treatment and Hadassah said it would find a bed for him today or tomorrow.
Mor-Yosef noted that referrals to Hadassah by the Palestinian Authority of patients living in the territories dropped last month by 50%, compared to the same month a year ago. (JP 11th Feb)
Dr R.H.B. Fishman
Voice: +972-6-639-6651, Fax: +972-6-639-8880
For the man whose knowledge is not in order, the more which he has
of it, the greater will be his confusion.
A Note on "Reciprocity"
Our nation is now embroiled in a fierce and passionate debate about whether or not to unilaterally leave the Security Zone on the Lebanese Border. The issue has of course, taken on greater urgency, as a result of the most recent tragic helicopter crash that occurred on a day of the heavist Arab terrorist bombardment on our northern border. Seventy three of our sons lost their lives on their way to a "mission" in Lebanon. Even the citizens living on the Lebanese border have expressed views stating that this was too dear a price to pay for their security. Are we willing to sacrifice the lives of 18,19, and 20 year olds for the sake of other lives?
There is no clear-cut answer, and our nation is tormented. Does the Security Zone protect the North? Do Judea and Samaria protect Tel Aviv and Jerusalem? Did Sinai protect the Negev? These are not questions of sentiments and ideology concerning the Promised Land, but of pragmatism and security. We now have a Palestinian entity in the heart of Israel. Is this a good neighbor or an enemy? We are in the midst of a peace process, a process begun by P.M. Rabin, and continued by P.M. Binyamin Netanyahu. But P.M. Netanyahu was selected on a platform of "peace with security" . This promise of "reciprocity" was a key element in his victory.
Meanwhile what are the facts? To speak from a personal perspective of reciprocity, the mastermind of my son Nachshon's October 1994 abduction and murder, Muhammad Deif still runs free, and our government is not actively requesting his capture, arrest or extradition. When I met with President Clinton last February at the site of my son's grave on Mount Herzl, he assured me, as the guarantors of the Oslo Accords, that Deif's capture was a top American priority. He went even further, at that time, and stated that the continuation of the peace process, specifically the redeployment in Hebron was contingent on Deif's arrest. The former P.M. Shimon Peres, was present and witness to that promise.
Subsequently, many more cold-blooded murders of Jews have occurred, and the perpetuators received sanctuary and a hero's welcome within the areas of the Palestinian Authority. The most recent of these, was the murder of a Jerusalem contractor, Yaakov Yemin, whose killer calmly hailed a cab to Bethlehem, where he was given sanctuary, and no one is demanding justice. Even when killers are caught - as was the case in several abominable acts of terror, they are given quick trials and sentences, so as not to be handed over to Israel, and according to Amnesty and the US State Department annual human rights report, they are released shortly afterwards and swallowed up in the Palestinian controlled towns. Many of these terrorists are then recruited to the Palestinian Police Force, another travesty of morality and justice.
My son's kidnappers - the two who were not blown up in the IDF military action - were tried by an Israeli military court, and neither one was given the maximum penalty, which in Israel is not the death sentence, but life imprisonment. Who is to say that in some future "deal" as a concession to the peace process they too will not be released? Last week the body of Nachshon's murderer was returned to his family in Gaza. According to Moslem law, without a proper religious Moslem burial, this murderer could not attain the status of a "shihad" or holy martyr. The Israeli-government, of its own free will, granted him this status.
Our family was neither notified, nor briefed in advance of the Israel' government's shortsighted intention of returning that body. We got the news from the media, who called and asked for our reaction to that heinous act, which ironically occurred on the very day that the Israeli Knesset committee on Internal Affairs met to deal with the phenomenon of the "cold-blooded killer", Baruch Goldstein's grave becoming a Mecca for some Jews who go there to pray, and the monument erected on that site was declared by the Knesset that day to be an obscene shame to our country. The hypocrisy of denouncing Goldstein's acquiring holiness, while at the same time creating a Palestinian holy martyr, creates a double standard, offends all logic. The family of a "cold-blooded Palestinian murderer" must know that they will never bury their son, and he will never achieve holiness. By returning my son's killer's body, the Israeli government unwittingly encourages more acts of terror, by creating more heroes who died for the Palestinian cause.
During World War II, when the US faced Moslem "jihad" terror in the Philippines, they smeared the bodies with pig fat, thus nullifying their sanctity, and the terror subsided. Our government's insensitivity was a slap in the face to our family, and a degradation of Jewish life, by rewarding terror and murder.
And now - the latest "concession". For as long as I can remember, every government in Israel while releasing terrorists, firmly asserted that those with "blood on their hands" would never be released. Today's news tells us that we are about to release female terrorists "with blood on their hands". The message - crime does pay, and terror pays even more. Every potential killer for "nationalistic" ideals now knows that with enough pressure, he will eventually go free, even from Israeli prisons. Jewish blood has become cheap in the Jewish Homeland, and I can only say, "The voice of your brother's blood cries out to me from the earth", and there is no forgiveness for those who murdered Jews - each one an entire world onto himself. Our sages tell us that each individual in an entire world, and he who murdered him also murdered all his potential descendants. Nachshon and all the other victims of terror will never build families to carry on their names, and their killers rejoice, while their parents mourn. I am not against peace. On the contrary, I pray for peace three times a day every day of my life. But it must be a just and lasting peace, with a partner who yearns for peace. I have heard Chairman Arafat speak of peace on the White House lawn, in Oslo, as the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, and on many other occasions. Yet I also hear him speak to his own people of Jihad, a holy war, of an armed struggle, of the Zionist enemy. I have heard preachers in the mosques throughout the land speak words of incitement and hate.
Most disturbingly, I hear Arafat revere and honor those "freedom fighters" whose lives were dedicated to terror and bloodshed, and call them heroes of Palestine. These are not the words or acts of a peace-loving leader. While the Israeli Board of Education has formulated endless programs and study hours to preparing our people - especially the next generation - for peaceful co-existence with our neighbors, no such similar educational programs have been implemented by our partners in peace. On the contrary. Palestinian children are being indoctrinated by the new Palestine Aurhority with hate, revenge, and enmity. How can we blindly go on with a one-sided race towards peace? The question that our prime minister must ask at this point will be: Where is the reciprocity?
Finally, returning to my opening comments, I feel that it is essential to emphasize pragmatism and security, rather than sentimentality regarding the Jewish Homeland. In view of the endless debate here in Israel regarding lack of motivation of our youth to serve in combat units of the IDF, to be willing to defend their homeland; in an atmosphere of Post-Zionism, and personal fulfillment, rather than feelings of patriotism or idealism; at a time when love of our land has become an outdated cliche, may I comment that there are still great numbers of Israeli families educating their children, as I was educated, on the principles of "Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, Al Pi Torat Yisrael" - translated as love of our people in our land, according to our Torah. Without remembering our roots, our heritage, our history, and our collective Jewish destiny, what indeed are we doing here?
Israel is the only country we have, and we are all links in the chain of Jewish identity. Our fate and destiny as a people remain intertwined with our tradition and our land, and let us never forget that. "For from Zion, shall the Tora go out, and the word of G-d from Jerusalem." May G-d have mercy on His people and guide the leaders of Zion in the path of wisdom and strength.
I consider that it is necessary to raise the case of Gregory Lewis from South Africa who was on a Jerusalem Fellowship at the Aish HaTorah Yeshivah. He went missing on 19th December 1996, the day after phoning his parents in South Africa to find out the results of his University Exams, which he passed with highest grades. His body was found on 27th December 1996 off Herzlia beach handcuffed and roped. On 1st January 1997 the Israeli police put out a Missing Persons photograph in the Jerusalem Post. The announcement of finding of his body was not announced till a month after he had been found - WE MUST ASK WHY????
His parents came to Israel in December and on 3rd January 1997. I met them, by chance, in the hotel in Jerusalem where I was staying. His father was so cut up that he had difficulty reciting kiddush, and his mother was so sick that she could not eat. They were at their wits end as they correctly assumed that they could not get the publicity that was necessary. They were left to their own devices to paste up posters in Ir Atikah and Tel Aviv because the police refused to put their son's picture and details on the Mabaat TV news and in the Hebrew Papers. They could not understand the refusal of the police on this matter.
It is not widely known that Gregory was a relation of Dr Lewis of Haifa who was Menahem Begin's personal heart physician.
Letter that I circulated to the Israeli Media on 26th January 1997
I was saddened to learn, (Friday, 24th January), that the body of missing South African student, Gregory Lewis, washed ashore at Herzliya on 27th December, was identified almost a month later. When Greg went missing, his distraught parents flew into Israel from South Africa and did not receive the reception due to them from both the Israeli Police and Security Services. I happened to be in Jerusalem at the beginning of January and was staying in the same hotel as the parents where I met them. They had appealed to the police to place advertisements containing a photograph of their missing son in all the major newspapers and on the major TV news - the only action by the Israel Police National Headquarters Investigation Branch - Missing Persons Bureau was an advertisement in the Jerusalem Post on January 1st - 5 days after the body had been washed ashore - and a mention on the English language TV news. Their appeal to the police to get the item mentioned on the major Israeli TV news was flatly turned down and they were subjected to verbal abuse at the Russian Compound. Subsequently they were left to their own devices to try and ascertain the whereabouts of their son, including pasting up A4 photocopies of a photograph of their son with a missing message in the Old City and in Tel Aviv.
It is ironic and certainly highlights incompetence in high places that after the body had been washed ashore, the police placed a missing persons advert in the Jerusalem Post -- did nobody bother to check the record of missing persons - after all Greg had gone missing on 19th December, some 7 days before the body was washed ashore -- is their no liaison between the various branches of the police? This matter demands immediate investigation at the highest level, probably by the State Controller's Office.
Dr C. L. Leci
Spending Shabbat with the Homeless in Jerusalem
by Sara Bedein, a writer, wife and mother, and
author of the forthcoming book,
Women on the Frontier:
Twenty Women Who Pioneered the "West Bank" of Israel
A few weeks ago, instead of having the usual assortment of guests around our table, my family and I chose to spend Shabbat with a special Jerusalem couple who serve the homeless and the hungry. For our family, this was a unique experience, rich with unforgettable details, while for the unfortunate people with whom we shared our meals, this was a way of life.
Rabbi Yechiel and Esther Koslovsky are the administering angels to hungry and sometimes homeless people. It has been three years since they have sat down for a Shabbat or holiday meal with their own family, or within the comfort of their own home.
Esther is the moving force behind Eshel Avraham, the tiny two-room kitchen situated directly opposite the Kotel. The kitchen provides a hot meal to 40-60 men and up to 10 women daily. On Shabbat, three meals are served in a warm holiday atmosphere. The third Shabbat meal has the largest turnout.
Because of a lack of space, it takes place at the police headquarters building next to the Kotel, and more than 400 people attend. It is the first time in many years that some have experienced a Shabbat atmosphere while for other "regulars," the atmosphere provides a spiritual as well as a physical respite from everyday hardships.
Since opening the kitchen, Esther has encouraged her husband and three children who are still living at home, to take part in the full-time production of feeding the hungry. It has now become a full-time occupation for the family. The work is physically exhausting, and they do it all themselves.
The food is donated and/or bought at cost. A volunteer caterer in town cooks the food. Rabbi Yechiel spends a lot of time picking up food, bringing it to the caterer and then delivering it to Eshel Avraham. The biggest burden is the $800 rental fee for the two tiny rooms. There is no organized funding for the project, and the Koslovkys have had many run-ins with the banks and landlord when money is too scarce to pay the rent.
Since opening the kitchen, the Koslovskys have eaten all their meals with the hungry and destitute. For the Pessah seder, they have fed up to 200 people, renting a special hall next to the Kotel to provide room.
The Koslovskys' dream is to expand their tiny quarters in order to accommodate more people. They also dream of giving regular Jewish studies classes to feed the spirit as well as the body.
Not long ago, Esther felt that she did not have the strength to continue with the project. The mental and physical strain, as well as the financial burden, were taking their toll on her and on her husband, who has since developed diabetes. The strain has also affected their personal and family life, as everything revolves around this project. Esther turned to Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, and asked if she could simply stop. The answer was that since so many people are dependant on this one meal a day and have nowhere else to go, the family was not permitted to stop.
Our family was a firsthand witness to this truth. My husband sat in one room with the men and I sat with our daughters and the women. The people who came to eat were mostly "regulars," some of whom have been eating there since the place opened. It is a mixed crowd. While some were unkempt, others looked perfectly presentable, and seemed down on their luck.
One grandmother from America brought her grandson to Israel for the first time and, not realizing that bus transportation ends early on Fridays, got stuck at the Kotel. She heard that they could get a meal at Eshel, and went there Friday night. It had been many years since this woman had sat at a traditional Shabbat table and the blessings brought back memories of her own childhood. The tears began to flow freely as she told the Koslovskys how wonderful it felt to be there.
One of the "regulars" was an elegant looking haredi woman in her 30's with an aristocratic manner. I learned from the Koslovskys' daughter, Odelia, that she is originally from Switzerland, and is divorced with seven children, all of whom live with their father. On occasion, some of the children come to visit her and she brings them to the meals. There is nothing about the woman to indicate that she is dependant on a "soup kitchen" for nourishment. We had a pleasant conversation, but she did not volunteer any information about herself and something about her told me not to ask.
On the other hand, there were many who were more than willing to talk about themselves, and having someone to listen to their stories seemed every bit as important to them as getting nourishment.
Trudy, single and in her 40's, is an unemployed social worker from Holland who fulfilled an old dream of coming to Israel. For two months, she worked as a volunteer on kibbutz, and left after feeling exploited. Occasional cleaning jobs have afforded her a mattress on the roof of a hostel in the Old City. For the last two months she has been a regular at Eshel Avraham. Then there is Audrey, or Chaya Gittel as she calls herself now. She made aliya from America on her own in 1991. Unkempt and very thin, Chaya Gittel seemed somewhat unstable and very hungry. After eating everything on her plate, she looked around hungrily for more, and was told regretfully by Esther that there was nothing left. I offered my girls' almost untouched plates, saying "It's a shame to throw away good food." Unhesitatingly, she took the plates and ravenously polished off the food. When asked what she would do if this place didn't exist, Chaya answered that she would not eat. She was not the only one. Everyone else answered similarly.
Last year, headlines were made when a homeless man died of the cold at the Mount of Olives cemetery. This man used to eat at Eshel Avraham. When I asked the Koslovskys about the welfare system, they said that they do not ask questions. Whoever is hungry is welcome - no questions asked.
In an age in which people are busy pursuing their own needs, we need to pause and think of the not so fortunate. A poignant moment for me came at the end of Shabbat. Trudy had gotten accustomed to seeing us there and had begun to view my family as "regulars." On parting from her, she said "see you tomorrow for lunch." When she was out of earshot, I whispered to my girls: "Thank God you won't; we will be going home". And then I said to myself, "I only wish you all could go to a place you could call home."
The "Kill and Run" Precedent
of the New Israeli-Palestinian Accord
by David Bedein,
Media Analyst and Executive Director of ISRAEL RESOURCE
a media firm located at the Beit Agron International Press Center
37 Hillel Street, Jerusalem
On January 14, 1997, at 12:00 noon, as the Israeli cabinet gathered in Jerusalem to begin its deliberations on the approval of the Oslo accords, something else occurred in Ramat Dania, a neighborhood that is only walking distance from the Israeli Knesset.
A young Palestinian Arab took an axe to a sixty year old Israeli building foreman, Yaakov Yamin, and hacked Yamin to pieces.
The killer then took a taxi to Bethlehem, only a ten minute ride away.
When the assailant arrived to the Bethlehem checkpoint, the driver described to me how his very nervous passenger quickly got out of the cab. He watched as his passenger ran into Bethlehem.
The driver called the Israeli police. So did the driver's taxi company call the police.
Yet the police demonstrated little interest in the case, coming over only an hour later. The police finally interrogated the driver to get a full description of the murderer, preparing a hand-drawn picture of the killer. Yet the picture did not flash on the TV screen or in the print media the next morning. And the Israeli police did not forward the picture to the Palestinian police. However, the Israeli police spokesman said that the police had no such picture.
The Yaakov Yamin murder was front page news in Israel the next day, sharing headlines with the historic Israeli government meeting that was taking place that day to confirm Israeli government backing for the latest accord with the Palestine Authority. The front page of the popular Israeli newspaper Yediot featured a shot of Netanyahu with Arafat on top, and a small snapshot of Yaakov Yamin on the corner of the page.
"Reciprocity" was the theme of this agreement, with this Israeli government declaring very clearly and forthrightly that it would only cede concessions to the PA only if and when the PA would demonstrate the appropriate confidence building measures that would show that it was indeed keeping its part of the accords.
The matter of killers who had escaped to the Palestine Authority was high on the agenda of the new accord, according to all Israeli government spokespeople.
The retiring Israeli attorney general, Rabin appointee Michael Ben Yair, presented the government with a long awaited legal opinion that declared in no uncertain terms that the accords signed by the previous government with the PA would require the PA hand over hand over killers within its jurisdiction.
Israel Minister of Justice Tzachi Hanegbi followed Ben Yair by stating very clearly that if the new accord did not require the PA to hand over killers, he would not vote for the accords.
Meanwhile, the Yamin killing and killer escape suddenly disappeared from public conscousness. I asked government ministers if the cabinet would send a representative to his funeral or to the Shiva home. No response. And no government minister or member of Knesset showed up at the Yamin home.
I asked the Israeli police spokesperson of they were pursuing the killer in Bethlehem, or whether the Israeli police was asking the Palestinian polcie to hand over the killer. The spokesperson said that the question was premature. I went to the Palestinian police in Bethlehem to find out what they knew. They told me that if the killer had come to Bethlehem that he was welcome to do so. I called IDF radio, Israel state radio, Israel state television, Yediot and Maariv to see why they were not following up on the Yamin murder case, even as a side bar to the government meeting.
The response of news editors: We have been "asked" to drop the case and not to dwell on the issue. Besides, the peace process is more newsworthy. So there was not a word in the Israeli media - and certainly not in the foreign press - on the Yamin murder and the subsequent escape of Yamin's killer to the Palestine Authority "safe haven" only ten minutes away.
So there you have the precedent of the latest accords that were approved by the Israeli government. An Arab can murder a Jew, escape to a warm welcome only a few minutes away in the Palestine Authority safe haven and the matter will simply be sanitized by a cooperative Israeli and foreign media. Press conspiracy? Hardly. Government policy? Perhaps.
On Tu B'shvat, I had the opportunity to sit with the Yamin family, who had finished their Shiva period of mourning on the previous day. I brought two people with me - Yehudah Wachsman, whose son Nachshon had been abducted and murdered by Arab terrorists only two years ago. Nachson's chief abductor Muhammad Deif, resides in Gaza and the Israeli government has not even requested Deif's arrest. I also brought the taxi driver, Mr Y, who described the killer to the family and confirmed to the family that he had sat with the Israeli police for no less than eight hours, as they prepared a sketch of the passenger.
According to Israeli law, victims of terror attacks receive immediate attention and care by the mental health professionals of the Israeli Defence Ministry rehabilitation department and the Israel National Insurance Institute.
However, the Israeli police will only say that they are "99% sure" that Yaakov Yamin was murdered in a terror attack, and not in a robbery. That is despite the fact that Yamin's bulging wallet was not taken from his body.
Therefore, the Israeli government was not legally obligated to provide any mental health professionals to help the family. Under normal circumstances, a police or military official would show up at the door with a doctor or psychiatrist to inform the family of the murder. Instead, the family found out about the killing when a journalist showed up at their door seeking a picture of the deceased.
If the government does acknowledge that this was a terror attack, then it will be stuck with the difficult question about how it explains to its citizens that the peace process allows Arabs to kill and escape to the sanctuary of the Palestine Authority.
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