Friday’s Terrorism Victims Laid to Rest

Gil Ronen; Hillel Fendel

Friday’s Terrorism Victims Laid to Rest

The two young soldiers managed to return fire and “fought to their last drop of blood,” killing two of their attackers.

Israel National News


The funerals of the two young men from Kiryat Arba who were murdered by terrorists on Friday was held Saturday night, accompanied by thousands.

The funeral procession of David Rubin and Achikam Amichai left their homes at 7:30 P.M, and made its way north to Jerusalem along the Gush Etzion Tunnels Highway. The joint funeral at Mt. Herzl was held at 10 P.M.

Achikam was the son of Rabbi Yehuda Amichai, the head of the Torah and Land Institute, originally founded in Gush Katif, and the grandson of the late Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neria. David and Achikam were murdered as they were hiking with a friend in Nahal Telem, west of Hevron.

The three hikers set out on a trail in the Telem riverbed, northwest of Hevron. They were approached by terrorists in an SUV who apparently had been tipped off as to their presence on the secluded trail. In fact, just minutes before, one of the victims pointed at some Arab shepherds and joked, “They’re probably going to tell some terrorists that we’re here.”
David Rubin

The terrorists said hello to their intended victims, and then, from the car’s back window, three shots were fired. One of them hit Amikam, but between the two young men, both of whom were on leave from their elite IDF units, they managed to return fire and kill one of the terrorists. Another one was wounded, and though the terrorists evacuated him from the scene, he later died of his wounds. IDF sources said the two soldiers “fought to their last drop of blood.”

The 20-year-old girl who was with the two managed to run and hide, and called the emergency services. Bad cell phone reception delayed the process of locating the attack victims, though it was noted that she remained calm and in control throughout. She tried to guide the army and emergency crews to the scene, and even noted that she heard the sounds of Arabs taking a body into their car. When the emergency crews finally arrived, they discovered a gruesome scene: The two dead Jews, and near them the body of one Arab terrorist. The terrorists took the assault rifles of the Jewish soldiers.

Fayad: We Are ‘Pained’ by Killing of Soldiers

Salam Fayad, Prime Minister and Finance Minister of the Palestinian Authority in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, said Saturday evening that he shares the pain over the killing of the two Israeli soldiers near Hevron. “We feel pain over the death of the two soldiers. Every death is unnecessary,” Fayad said at an economic conference being held at a hotel in Herzliya.

Fayad said the PA arrested suspects in the matter and asked to convey his condolences to the bereaved families. “These are not just words here, but also deeds,” Fayad said. “We are working in cooperation with the Israeli security services and we will see this matter to its end.”

Many in Israel do not view it that way. They remember the murder just last month of Ido Zoldan by PA policemen, the incitement against Israel in PA media, and the refusal of the PA to act resolutely to end terrorism from within its midst.

‘Only Force’

The Yesha Rabbis Council reacted to the murderous attack near Hevron saying: “Any intention and plan to give up parts of the Land of Israel is understood as weakness and surrender, and leads directly to the murder of Jews. The Arab enemy understands only force, power and resoluteness. A Jewish government needs to evict its enemies from within it and settle Jews in their stead.”

The newly-formed Hatikva party responded to the murderous attack as follows: “The victims of Annapolis who were gunned down today in Har Hevron died as a direct result of the terrorists’ daring, which increases the more Olmert and Livni court the chairman of the Palestinian Terror Authority, Abu Mazen.”

The Almagor terror victims organization sent a message to the Israeli cabinet following the attack, asking to return the roadblocks it removed from Judea and Samaria’s roads “instead of discussing relaxation of the criteria for releasing terrorists.”

Besides the pressing need to replace the roadblocks, Almagor said, such a move “would convey a proper message to the terror groups in the wake of the murder.”

MK Uri Ariel (NU/NRP) said the double murder was “additional proof of how the Arab terror raises its head the moment it recognizes weakness and willingness to compromise [on the Israeli side]. The Prime Minister’s announcements about releasing terrorists, freezing construction and supervision of tenders in Jerusalem give terror a boost.”

PA Premier Fayyad Says Suspects in Killings of 2 Israelis Caught by PA

Amos Harel; AP

PA Premier Fayyad Says Suspects in Killings of 2 Israelis Caught by PA

PA premier promises to fulfill security commitments; PA minister vows ‘harsh measures’ against killers.



Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Saturday that his security forces had arrested an unspecified number of suspects in Friday’s killing of two Israeli hikers in the West Bank, and had passed to Israel weapons taken from the dead men by their Palestinian attackers.

“We have suspects in custody already,” he said. “We are cooperating and coordinating with the Israeli security services, weapons have already been returned to Israeli security in connection with this particular incident.”

Sharing a podium with President Shimon Peres at an economic conference in Herzliya, Fayyad also expressed condolences to the families of the two off-duty soldiers killed while hiking near Hebron in the West Bank.

Fayyad did not give further details and the Israel Defense Forces had no immediate confirmation of his comments.

Fayyad said Saturday the arrests were proof of his government’s determination to rein in Palestinian militant groups and impose law and order in the areas under its control and investigation of Friday’s gunfight in which the Israelis killed a Palestinian gunman before they were fatally wounded would be thorough.

“It will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law, he said. So it’s not only strong words of condemnation,” it’s action.

Earlier, in Nablus, Fayyad acknowledged that the shooting attack near Hebron took place on territory for which the Palestinian Authority is responsible. He said that the PA would fulfill all of its security commitments, according to Ma’an, an independent Palestinian news agency.

On Friday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki on Friday vowed a “harsh” response to the attack, in which one of the militants responsible for the shooting was killed in ensuing gunfire.

“As we condemn all Israeli assassination operations … in Gaza and West Bank, we cannot accept such operations carried out by armed groups,” said al-Malki.

He said the aim of the group who carried out the attack was to disrupt peace talks and Palestinian security plans, and promised “to take harsh measures” against them.

The victims of the drive-by shooting attack, named as David Rubin and Ahikam Amihai, both in their 20s, were hiking in the area of the West Bank settlements of Talam and Adura with a female resident of Kiryat Arba when a group of four Palestinian terrorists opened fire on them from a Jeep.

The IDF Central Command said that the three Israelis entered Area B of the West Bank, which is under Palestinian civilian control, despite warnings not to do so.

Rubin and Amihai, who were soldiers on leave from the Israel Defense Forces, managed to return fire and reportedly killed one of the terrorists.

They later died from their wounds, while the woman who accompanied them managed to hide and was not harmed.

IDF troops arrested early Saturday six Palestinians from Hebron in connection with the attack.

On Friday, Palestinian sources stated that IDF troops raided a hospital in Hebron searching for a gunman believed to have been wounded in the attack. The IDF has not confirmed the report.

Meanwhile, Israel sent a letter of protest over the attack to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to the president of the Security Council, Israel Radio reported Saturday.

Both Islamic Jihad and an armed wing of Fatah claimed responsibility for the shooting. The top Palestinian security official said on Saturday the Palestinian Authority was dismantling militant groups, including Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade.

Israel has recently killed several of Islamic Jihad’s militants in the Gaza Strip, including some senior commanders.

Israeli envoy to the United Nations Dan Gillerman emphasized that the Palestinian Authority has still not proven its desire to fight terror, and that Islamic Jihad receives finance and cover from UN member states.

Both Rubin and Amihai were in elite units of the IDF, with Rubin serving as a sergeant in the Israeli Naval commandos and Amihai as a corporal in the Israel Air Force’s equivalent unit.

The terrorists then escaped and the woman called the emergency center in Kiryat Arba. However, the rescue team had trouble locating her because she did not know their whereabouts.

Israel Defense Forces and paramedics were called in to help with the search, and managed to reach the bodies of the two men. The woman, who suffered from shock, was taken to a Kiryat Arba clinic nearby.

The group had threatened to retaliate for the Gaza attacks, saying the Israeli actions would “not go unpunished”.

An Israel police spokesman called Friday’s shooting a “terrorist attack” and said police and the army had searched the area for the attackers.

The shooting attack came hours after IDF troops killed a bodyguard of the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiatator, Ahmed Qureia,in Ramallah.

Also Friday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a Qassam rocket at the western Negev. No injuries or damages were reported.

Amihai and Reuben were laid to rest on Saturday evening. Their funeral procession passed from Kiryat Arba to the military cemetery of Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

Rubin is the son of Rabbi Mishael Rubin of Hebron and his brother is the acting rabbi of “Shavei Hebron” yeshiva in Beit Romano.

Amihai, who served in the elite Shayetet 13 Naval commandos unit, is the son of Rabbi Yehuda Amihai, head of the Land and Torah center that was formerly based in Kfar Darom in Gush Katif and was moved to Ashkelon after the disengagement in 2005.

Ahikam’s mother Esther is the daughter of Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Nariya, known to many as “the father of the kippot srugot,” referring to the knit skullcaps popular with the settler movement.

The Kiryat Arba council severely criticized the government following the attack. Zvi Katzover, head of the local council, said in response that “whoever lets off terrorists and supplies them with guns does not have to push the trigger in order to become an accomplice.”

MK Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party) added that the murder is “further proof of intensified terrorist attacks by Arabs, who take advantage of Israel’s weakness and lenience.” He stressed that the prime minister’s recent declarations regarding the release of Palestinian prisoners and the freezing of building permits in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, were a “tail wind for terrorism.”

The Almagor Terror Victims Association requested this week that the cabinet cancel its planned discussion on the easing of criteria for the release of prisoners. Instead, the association said in response to the murder that the cabinet should schedule a security discussion on replacing removed roadblocks and restrictions for Palestinian vehicles on central routes.

The chairman of the association, Meir Indor, said that the proposed discussion would “send out a clear message to the terrorist organizations that renewing terrorist attacks comes with a heavy price: in refusing to release prisoners and in hardening Israel’s line regarding the Palestinians.”

Last month, an Israeli resident of the Shavei Shomron community in the West Bank was shot and killed while driving to a nearby settlement by three Palestinians, members of the PA’s security force.

The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade took responsibility for that attack. A statement from the group said the shooting came in protest of the upcoming Annapolis peace summit and the “crimes of Israel against the Palestinians.”

In a separate incident on Friday, a number of casualties were reported in clashes between Palestinian clans in the same area.

Public Opposition to Release of Murderers Is Mounting

Hillel Fendel

Public Opposition to Release of Murderers Is Mounting

Minister Mofaz and Shabak chief Diskin oppose the government’s new trend towards easing up on criteria enabling the release of terrorists.

Israel National News


Minister Sha’ul Mofaz and Shabak chief Yuval Diskin oppose the government’s new trend towards easing up on criteria enabling the release of terrorists.

While most ministers apparently support the idea, Mofaz, Diskin and others don’t like the process the government began on Monday to ease up on criteria defining which terrorists can be released from prison.

Until now, the government has been steadfast in refusing to free terrorists who have “blood on their hands” – i.e., were involved in murderous attacks – in the framework of prisoner releases. There were many who objected to even this relatively strict definition, saying that terrorists who tried to murder Jews but, for one reason or another, failed, should not be eligible for freedom.

The Issue Is Shalit

However, the government is now leaning towards relaxing the criteria even further – apparently because otherwise, a deal for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit might not be possible. On Monday, a ministerial committee convened for the express purpose of narrowing the term “blood on their hands,” thus enabling the release even of terrorists who had a role in murdering Jews.

Foreign reports have it that a deal is in the works for Corp. Shalit. It would involve the exchange of some 500 Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel – including some who are currently categorized as having “blood on their hands” – in exchange for the captive soldier’s return home.

Shalit was captured a year and a half ago by Hamas terrorists who crawled through a tunnel under the Israel-Gaza border. The kidnappers also killed two IDF soldiers in the attack.

The Committee

Staffing the committee dealing with the possible change are Vice Prime Minister Chaim Ramon, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, and Minister Without Portfolio AMi Ayalon, a former GSS Director. Ramon, Ayalon and Dichter have already expressed support for the new definitions. Another meeting is planned for Wednesday, when the security establishment’s position will be heard.

GSS head Yuval Diskin is reportedly strongly against the new tendency, and will make his opinion heard at the next committee session.

Also against the idea is Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Tzachi HaNegbi (Kadima), who said, “I’m against the release of murderers, and I don’t understand this whole thing of changing the criteria.”

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, on the other hand, feels that as Shalit was captured as a representative and emissary of the entire country, and therefore everything must be done to bring him home.

The Almagor Terror Victims Association and MKs Aryeh Eldad, Benny Elon and Yuval Shteinitz are all against the move. Eldad said Prime Minister Olmert will be responsible for those murdered by the terrorists to be released, while Elon decried the “moral, legal and military bankruptcy” involved in such a decision. Shteinitz said, “With all the flexibility and pragmatism, the Government of Israel is aiding terrorism and harming the international war against terrorism.”

Shifra Hoffman of Victims of Arab Terror (VAT International) said this would be another good opportunity for the right-leaning Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu parties to quit the government, “or else they will be guilty of having blood on their hands in allowing past and future murderers to be released.”

Bereaved Parents Oppose Release of Prisoners with ‘Blood on Their Hands’

Roni Lifshitz

Bereaved Parents Oppose Release of Prisoners with ‘Blood on Their Hands’

Several families send letter to Prime Minister Olmert in which they express their opposition to relaxing constraints on prisoner release policies



Representatives of parents who have lost loved ones in terror attacks sent Prime Minister Ehud Olmert a letter on Monday expressing their opposition to any change in prisoner release policies which would enable murderers to be set free.

The bereaved were assisted by Almagor, an organization that represents victims of terrorism.

The ministerial committee which took up the issue of relaxing constraints on prisoner release procedures to allow terrorists with “blood on their hands” to be freed, will meet to discuss this issue again on Wednesday.

Shmuel Landau, whose son Ronen was murdered in a shooting in a northern Jerusalem neighborhood in 2001, told Ynet on Monday: “The public is very opposed to the release of terrorists.

“I think that there should not be any freeing of terrorists at all, but we would be satisfied if only terrorists with blood on their hands were not released – especially (jailed Fatah leader Marwan) Barghouti.”He was tried and imprisoned and he should sit in prison all of his life. He’s not just a terrorist but a terrorist leader.

“The public also needs to know that there is opposition to setting terrorists free, they need to know those that are released return to their evil ways.”

Moshe Har-Melech, whose son Shuli was also killed in a shooting four-and-a-half year ago, added: “I am making a fuss for the people that will, heaven forbid, be killed by the same terrorists that are about to be released. “Why am I making a fuss in the place of others? Because others don’t feel what I feel.

“My son was killed four years ago during the hudna. He was killed by weapons that (former Prime Minister Shimon) Peres and (former Prime Minister Yitzhak) Rabin gave out during those criminals’ time (in office) and then they said that it was so (the Palestinians) could take care of their criminals themselves.

“It turns out that they turned the weapons towards us and killed us.”

Shuli Har-Melech (photo: Rotem Cohen) and Ronen Landau (photo: Gali Tivon)

Almagor: More Apathy Needed for IDF Captives

Hillel Fendel

Almagor: More Apathy Needed for IDF Captives

The terror victims’ group says the Jewish Agency’s campaign against Israeli “apathy” regarding IDF captives is likely to boomerang against Israel.

Israel National News


The “Almagor” Terror Victims Association says the Jewish Agency’s public campaign against Israeli “apathy” regarding the IDF captives might actually boomerang against Israel.

The Jewish Agency has been sponsoring a public campaign of billboards and large photos of the three Israeli captives kidnapped most recently by Hamas and Hizbullah – Gilad Shalit in Gaza, and Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser by Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. The words “Our Apathy Will Kill Them” under the photos are designed to arouse the Israeli public to take unspecified action on their behalf.

However, Almagor feels that the message is liable to have a detrimental effect. “It is actually a call to pressure the government to carry out a prisoner exchange at any price – something that, with all the understanding we have for the families’ suffering, must be negated.”

“Prisoner release deals might bring back the three captives,” Almagor says, “but at the price of many other Israeli deaths – as occurred over the past five years, when 179 people were murdered by terrorists who had been freed in previous deals and gestures.”

“It’s not the Jewish Agency’s job to take sides in an internal matter of ethics concerning Israeli society,” says Meir Indor of Almagor. “It should rather invest its efforts in arranging rallies and protests abroad in those countries that were instrumental in forcing a ceasefire upon us [at the end of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006] while the soldiers were still held captive. Israeli society does not need reminders about their so-called apathy; both the nation and its leadership were not at all apathetic, and made great efforts to free the captives – including going out to war. The accusations of ‘apathy’ are therefore infuriating.”

“All the rallies and declarations simply raise the price for receiving our hostages back home. The more quiet and patience we show, the easier it will be to reach a solution that will minimize the risk of future kidnappings.”

Shifra Hoffman of Victims of Arab Terror International, on the other hand, says not to throw the baby out with the bathwater: “The protests and rallies in favor of the captives are very important, and they must be worldwide and non-stop – but they must also emphasize that this must not come at the expense of releasing Arab terrorists. The bottom line is strength, while our government is exhibiting only weakness. Just recently, British reporter Alan Johnston was kidnapped by Hamas – and Britain stood strong, and he was finally released without Britain giving up anything.”

Regev and Goldwasser were kidnapped by Hizbullah 17 months ago, and Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas two weeks earlier; Shalit is believed to be alive. Hamas released an audio tape of Shalit late in June, but no positive sign has been heard from the others.

Counter-Pressure the Arabs

Almagor says the Palestinians themselves must be pressured in order to bring freedom to our captives: “Why is that when we are not even permitted to visit our captive soldiers, the terrorists in our prisons continue to live as usual? We must immediately stop their university studies as well as their other luxurious conditions, such as self-cooking and high-level canteens.”

Nearly 430 terrorists were released by the Olmert government last week as a goodwill gesture, with government officials emphasizing, as usual, that none of them were guilty of murder. This does not allay Almagor’s fears. “It should be emphasized,” the organization says, “that the term ‘without blood on their hands’ portrays these terrorists as less dangerous – but in fact they ‘have no blood on their hands’ only because the Israeli security services managed to arrest them before they could murder, or because they were indirectly involved in murder, or the like. In actuality, they would be quite happy to be ‘with blood on their hands.'”

Almagor has found that a clear majority of freed terrorists returned to terrorism after their release – “leading to a price in human life many times greater than the grave difficulties faced by a given individual family.”

30 Attacks

In 30 attacks perpetrated in recent years by terrorists freed in prisoner exchanges or otherwise, nearly 180 innocent citizens, mostly Israeli Jews, were killed, and many were also seriously wounded.

Almagor’s most recent findings are that of the nearly 7,000 terrorists who were freed between 1993 and 1999, over 850 (12.4%) had been re-arrested for murderous activity by August 2003. Another two-thirds of them returned to terrorist activity, be it in capacities of command, training or actual perpetration of attacks.

For more details, click here.

Har-Sinai Murderer Sentenced

In a related item, the IDF Military Court in Judea has sentenced Jihad Najar to life in prison for murdering Jewish shepherd Ya’ir Har-Sinai in July 2001. Najar approached Har-Sinai, pretending to be interested in buying sheep – and then stabbed him to death. An accomplice who then shot Har-Sinai was killed in a shootout with IDF forces two years later.

Almagor: Stop the Rallies for Abducted Soldiers

Almagor: Stop the Rallies for Abducted Soldiers

Israel National News


Almagor, the terror victims’ organization, called upon the families of the abducted IDF soldiers to stop their attacks on the government. “These are, in fact, serial attempts to put pressure on the government in order to carry out a swap deal at all costs,” the organization said. “This is something we must not support, despite our understanding for the sorrow of the families.”

“Such a deal may return their loved ones to Israel,” Almagor continued, “but [this will happen] at the cost of many other lives. This is what happened in the past five years, when 179 people were murdered by terrorists who were released in various swaps and gestures.”

Almagor said the Jewish Agency should cease sponsoring the rallies in Israel, which have recently become a podium for applying direct pressure on the government.

Almagor: Released Militants Killed 177 Israelis

Nadav Shragai

Almagor: Released Militants Killed 177 Israelis


News in Brief


Palestinian militants, freed in past prisoner releases by Israel, were responsible for at least 30 terror attacks which claimed the lives of 177 Israelis, according to a study published yesterday by Almagor, an organization representing the victims of Palestinian terrorism. The report’s publication came in response to yesterday’s release of 429 Palestinians jailed in Israeli prisons. According to the report, 6,912 militants were released between the years 1993 and 1999, and nearly 80 percent of them returned to terrorist activity.