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Bereaved families to DM: Do not release arch-terrorist's body

Gadi Rejwan, Hy"d, and his daughter Ann; Photo courtesy of the family

Tuesday, December 20, 2022, 9:30 On Tuesday, December 20, on behalf of the Kahane and Rejwan families, Honenu Attorney Ophir Steiner sent a letter to outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz demanding that he order that the body of Nasser Naji Abu-Hamid not be released for burial. Abu-Hamid was convicted of several counts of murder and attempted murder, all of them in acts of terror. Among the murdered are Binyamin and Talia Kahane, Hy"d, who were shot near Ofra in 2000 while some of their children were with them in their van, and Gadi Rejwan, Hy"d, who was murdered in 2002 in the factory that he managed in the Atarot Industrial Zone. At the sentencing, the Jerusalem District Court called Abu-Hamid a "killing machine" and sentenced him to seven life terms plus 50 years' imprisonment.

The Kahanes' gravestone; Photo credit: Eliyahu Ohayon

In the letter, Steiner described the murderous acts of Abu-Hamid: "The terrorist is responsible for the murder of seven Jews, sending terrorists with powerful suicide bombs to carry out 'mega-attacks', and a long list of additional acts of terror. It was for good reason that [Abu-Hamid] was described as an arch-terrorist. The Jerusalem District Court judges even called him a 'killing machine'. The terrorist did not act in a vacuum. Many members of his family are known terror activists. Some of the worst of our haters have grown up in the family. [Abu-Hamid's] four brothers were all convicted of murderous acts of terror, and all of them were sentenced to life imprisonment."

Steiner mentioned in the letter that recently Abu-Hamid filed a request for parole in order to spend the last days of his life with his family. The Prison Service parole board and the Supreme Court rejected the request: "This request [for parole] was rejected by the parole board and also by both the [Lod] District Court and the Supreme Court. Each of the above-mentioned courts ruled, moreover, that with such a man there are no grounds for being merciful and going beyond the letter of the law."

Steiner explained in his letter why the release of Abu-Hamid's body would cause an increase in terror and violence: "It is well known that terrorists who succeed in murdering Jews, certainly those who succeed in carrying out several attacks that end with Jewish deaths, as the terrorist did, are given huge funerals. They are escorted by large crowds of people, their coffins are held high, and in the background, there are songs of armed struggle and calls to incitement. Terror organizations share their photographs [on social media] and send representatives to eulogize the deceased and show support for the family. Concerning the family we are dealing with, as described above, there is no doubt that a funeral would be accompanied by calls for continuing terror and encouraging violent resistance. Clearly, such an event would encourage additional terror attacks."

In conclusion, Steiner demanded that Defense Minister Gantz order that Abu-Hamid's body not to be released, and thus there would be condolence for the bereaved families: "The Defense Ministry is asked to make a clear decision regarding the deceased terrorist. The body of the terrorist will remain in the hands of the State and not be returned to his family, both because of the considerations of deterrence and prevention of incitement to terror and damaging the security of the State, and out of consideration for protecting terror victims and their families by preventing additional suffering. Holding the body could later assist the State with returning soldiers and releasing captives. I turn to you in the name of the orphans and widows whose most dear to them was taken from them, whose lives are not the same as they were [before the murders]. It is in your hands to console them with the knowledge that the terrorist who took the living from them will know that they will no longer be able to serve as a symbol of encouraging terror under the auspices of the government, but rather they will serve against it. The family who raised him and his brothers to a life of murder and violence, will not merit receiving his body and using his funeral to continue poisoning the hearts of the public."

Honenu Attorney Ophir Steiner: "The terrorist deserved to die in prison, far from his family, similar to the death that he decreed on the many Jews whom he murdered or in whose murders he was involved. Currently, the Defense Minister must use his authority to prevent a funeral that will turn into a showcase for sanctifying terror."

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