Terror Victims: Pope’s Visit to Memorial Was Necessary

Terror Victims: Pope’s Visit to Memorial Was Necessary

Israel National News


The Almagor umbrella group of terror-victim associations thanked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday morning for the quickly-arranged visit by Pope Francis to the terror-victim memorial on Mount Herzl, in between the pontiff’s visit to the grave of Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum.

A statement by Almagor said, “This was a quick but necessary step after the shameful meeting of the pope with the families of murderous martyrs [dead terrorists—ed.] and prisoners in the Palestinian Authority.” The statement added, “The wrong was not corrected but there was a message of an independent and assertive stance by the state of Israel opposite Palestinian propaganda and the anti-Semitic currents sweeping Europe. They have achieved a record of attacks on and vulnerability of Jews.”

Terror Victim Group Blames Livni, Aharonovich for “Price Tags”

Yaakov Levi

Terror Victim Group Blames Livni, Aharonovich for “Price Tags”

Head of Almagor Terror Victims Association says “price tag” incidents are a natural outcome of “ignoring the crimes of the left.”

Israel National News


“Price tag” in Ein Aluza (Flash 90)

If Israel is suffering from a rash of “price tag” attacks, it’s not Jewish youth from Judea and Samaria that are to blame—it’s Foreign Minister Tzippy Livni and Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich who must shoulder the responsibility, said Dr. Aryeh Bachrach, head of the Almagor Bereaved Parents’ Forum.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Bachrach said that Livni and Aharonovich ought not be surprised at the disrespect for the state by alienated youth—because they themselves did not protest when far more important individuals condemned the state and its symbols.

“Of course, it’s a basic tenet of proper education to condemn negative behavior,” he said.

“But those who remained silent when figures like Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz or Professor Moshe Zimmerman called IDF soldiers ‘Nazis’ and ‘baby killers’ should not be surprised when teenagers, just like the honored and revered professors, act in this way,” he continued, referring to two prominent left-wing Israeli academics.

“Those who remained silent when Niso Shacham, the police commander who called to hurt the protestors in Gush Katif was not punished, but given an advancement, should not be surprised when kids vandalize property.” Both Livni and Aharonovich were in the government when these incidents occurred, he pointed out.

“We are tired of the hypocrisy,” said Bachrach. “We are tired of these people deflecting the blame onto the settlers and the youth. You, along with the media, are guilty of the hate crimes that these youths commit.”

“You who ignored the crimes of the left are responsible for the crimes of those on the right,” he added.

Palestinian Prisoners Are Smuggling Sperm Out of Israeli Jails So Wives Can Have Babies

Ruth Eglash; Sufian Taha

Palestinian Prisoners Are Smuggling Sperm Out of Israeli Jails So Wives Can Have Babies

The Washington Post


Suad Samir Abu Fayed holds her 10-day-old daughter, Hurryah (Ruth Eglash/The Washington Post)

Suad Abu Fayed and her husband have had no physical contact for more than 11 years. That is how long he has been in an Israeli prison.

And yet on a recent day, Abu Fayed cradled the couple’s 9-day-old baby, Hurriyah—a daughter whose birth earned her a place in an unusual but growing group: infants conceived over the past two years by in vitro fertilization, using sperm from Palestinian prisoners that has been smuggled out of Israeli jails.

The aim of the clandestine process, those involved say, is two-pronged: to help prisoners’ wives have children while their husbands are behind bars and to chip away at one facet of Israel’s control over Palestinian life.

Hurriyah’s father, Samir Abu Fayed, 37, is serving an 18-year sentence for involvement in terrorist activities. He is a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian political movement Fatah, according to his brother. Israel does not allow conjugal visits to Palestinian security prisoners, and carefully screened relatives can meet with them only through glass dividers.

But young children are allowed brief physical interaction with their fathers, and that is how Hurriyah, whose name means freedom in Arabic, came to be. Abu Fayed’s sperm was secretly slipped to one of the couple’s three older children—born before he was imprisoned—during a visit at the Nafha prison in southern Israel, said Suad Abu Fayed, 34. It was immediately transported to the Razan Medical Center in Nablus, which specializes in the IVF treatment that led to her pregnancy.

“I know it won’t be easy raising a baby with a husband in jail, but this is our way of breaking Israel’s siege on us,” she said, referring to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. “We are challenging [Israel’s] occupation and getting something beautiful in return.”

Israeli prison authority spokesperson Sivan Weitzman said Israel is aware of the growing phenomenon, and she acknowledged that little could be done to stop it.

“We have caught some prisoners attempting to smuggle sperm out, and as a consequence we have increased our searches of prisoner’s cells and of their visitors,” she said, adding that Israel has no way of proving that the prisoners are biologically linked to the babies.

The subject of prisoners is central to Palestinian society. Palestinians view those who are locked up as freedom fighters and heroes resisting Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and blockade of the Gaza Strip. Their families are not only revered but also receive monthly financial support from the Palestinian Authority. Israel, meanwhile, sees them as terrorists with Israeli blood on their hands.

“This is a great injustice,” Meir Indor, head of the Israeli terror victims’ association Almagor, said of the births. “Those who were murdered by these terrorists will never get to marry, they will never live their lives, while those who commit the murders are in a situation where they can always start a new life.”

The prisoners issue is considered one of the main sticking points in getting Israelis and Palestinians to even discuss possibilities of peace. This month, U.S.-led peace talks sputtered after nine months when Israel, angered by unilateral Palestinian steps toward greater recognition by the United Nations, reneged on its commitment to release a group of prisoners jailed before the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Israel suspended the talks last month after Fatah announced a unity government with a rival Palestinian party, Hamas, which the United States and Israel consider a terrorist organization.

According to data published by the Addameer Palestinian prisoner association and based on figures collected by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, about 5,000 Palestinians are serving security sentences handed down by Israeli military courts. A 2012 study by the Palestinian prime minister’s office suggested that about 800,000 Palestinian men—nearly 20 percent of the population of the West Bank and Gaza—have spent a week or more in an Israeli jail since 1967.

“Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jail face a true challenge,” said Palestinian prisoners minister Issa Qaraka. He said that smuggling out sperm to enable prisoners’ wives to get pregnant sends a “strong message that the prisoners still think about life while they are in jail.”

Former prisoner Esmat Mansour, who served 20 years for his role in the murder of an Israeli citizen and was released in August, said prisoners often talked about having children while inside.

“The prisoners always discussed how to do it and now, even if [Israel] tries to stop it, it will continue to happen,” he said.

Semen, if healthy, can remain viable for up to 12 hours outside the body, said Salem Abu Khaizaran, a physician who is president of the Razan clinic, which has carried out the majority of IVF treatments for prisoner’s wives.

He said smuggled sperm has arrived at his clinic hidden in all sorts of creative ways—inside medicine containers, the barrels of pens, candy wrappers, chocolate bars and even in the tip of a rubber glove inside a mush of dates. Once at the clinic, the sperm is frozen until the woman ovulates.

The first baby conceived by this process was born in August 2012. Today, about 15 women in the West Bank have successfully given birth in this way and another 15 women are pregnant, Khaizaran said. In Gaza, where another clinic performs IVF, one woman has given birth and local news media have reported that another six women are expecting babies in the coming months.

Khaizaran said that because of the stigma Palestinian wives might face in their conservative society for becoming pregnant without their husbands present, any sperm brought to his clinic must be authenticated by two relatives of the woman and two of the man. All must sign a document saying the sample is from her husband.

“We have worked to raise awareness in Palestinian society and to get the religious authorities to issue a fatwa declaring it acceptable,” Khaizaran said.

IVF treatment in the West Bank usually costs between $2,000 and $3,000, but Khaizaran said he offers it free to prisoners’ wives for “humanitarian reasons.”

“People do not pay much attention to the suffering of the wives,” he said. “We saw so many Palestinian prisoners, some of them newly married, who were sent to prison for a long time, and by the time they came out of prison, their wives were too old to have babies.”

This way, he said, life can go on for the wives even while their husbands are in jail.

Indor, the Israeli victims’ advocate, said the families of Israeli victims feel pained every time the news media report on the birth of a Palestinian prisoner’s baby.

“Palestinian prisoners get to study, eat well and take advantage of the system, and an absurd saga comes about whereby new life is created,” he said.

At the Askar camp, Suad Abu Fayed said she has peaceful hopes for Hurriyah’s future.

“I want to send her to private school so she can become a lawyer and defend our prisoners,” she said. “I really hope that her life will be better and more enjoyable than the life we have now.”

Bereaved Families to PM: Stay Away from Remembrance Day Events

Lahav Harkov

Bereaved Families to PM: Stay Away from Remembrance Day Events

After prisoner releases, ‘we don’t believe anything you say,’ they write to Netanyahu; Sa’ar tells Almagor advocacy group he will vote against freeing terrorists in the future.

The Jerusalem Post


Almagor members meet with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (left) at the Knesset yesterday. (Photo: Knesset spokesman’s office)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should not speak at Remembrance Day ceremonies next week because he released Palestinian prisoners during recent negotiations, bereaved parents wrote Wednesday.

“Please spare us and other families of the victims of terror your speech this year. Do not come to the ceremony on Mount Herzl,” Ron Kerman and Yossi Tsur, fathers from Haifa who lost children in terror attacks, wrote to the prime minister. “Since last year’s ceremony, you freed murderers three times on three dates that are etched into our flesh and our hearts.”

Netanyahu is from a bereaved family, after losing his brother, Lt.-Col. Yoni Netanyahu, in the Entebbe mission in 1976.

Still, Kerman and Tsur wrote, “if we were so important and you really felt our pain, you could have prevented our additional, unnecessary suffering.

“We have had enough of your cliches and empty slogans and promises in your speeches.”

“You don’t mean one word that you say,” they added. “Don’t put us and yourself in an awkward situation, because, anyway, your words will fall on deaf ears. Don’t give your speech and let us mourn our loved ones quietly.”

Almagor Terror Victims Association director Lt.-Col. (res.) Meir Indor said views are split among bereaved families as to whether they should support Kerman and Tsur’s initiative.

At the same time, he said: “It’s hard for us to see the parade of hypocrisy in which senior officials stand in Remembrance Day ceremonies to promise that they will catch [terrorists], while they release them.”

Also Wednesday, Indor and other Almagor members visited Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar to discuss ways to prevent future terrorist releases.

Sa’ar told the bereaved families that, unlike in the previous three releases, he would oppose freeing terrorists if a fourth one comes to a vote, because it would be likely to include prisoners with Israeli citizenship.

The minister added that even if Israeli citizenship is taken away from the released terrorists, he would vote against it.

“Sa’ar moved to the side of the good, courageous guys,” Indor told The Jerusalem Post.

“I don’t know if he will stand up to the pressure, but we hope he will be strong. Sa’ar is important to us because he is a senior minister who can influence Netanyahu.”

Edelstein opposed releasing terrorists from the start, but the Almagor families discussed with him the possibility of passing laws that could prevent it from happening again.

“We owe this to our families,” Indor said.

“We can’t go to our loved ones’ graves on Remembrance Day while, at the same time, their murderers are on the way to being freed, after 83 were already released in the last year.”