JCRC Saddened by the Murder of Two Israeli Civilians at their Workplace

The JCRC also Condemns the Palestinian Authority’s “Pay-for-Slay” Policy

October 9, 2018

Minneapolis, MN — Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement in solidarity with the people of Israel who are mourning the loss of two parents of young children, who were killed by a 23-year-old Palestinian terrorist at their workplace.

“On October 7, in a sickening act of terrorism, two Israelis were murdered and a third was seriously wounded in a shooting attack at their workplace. Hundreds of mourners attended the respective funerals of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, and Ziv Hajbi, 35. The suspect is Ashraf Na’alowa, a 23-year-old Palestinian man who worked for the same company and was reported to be acquainted with his victims.

“Our hearts are heavy with grief over the death of these dedicated parents to young children. Levengrond Yehezkel was the mother of a 15-month-old son while Hajbi leaves behind three children.

“Sara Vaturi, a 54-year-old woman who was also shot but survived the shooting, said that her coworkers who applied pressure to her wound likely saved her life. One was Palestinian, and one was Jewish. The attack took place at the company Alon Group which is within the Barkan Industrial Zone in the Northern West Bank. Of the 8,000 employees who work there daily, roughly half are Israeli and half are Palestinian.

“This deadly attack comes while Americans and Israelis alike are still mourning the death of Ari Fuld, a 45-year-old father of four who was an American citizen who lived with his family in Israel since 1994. On September 16, during the holiest period of the Jewish calendar between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Ari was stabbed to death in broad daylight by a 17-year-old Palestinian terrorist. A witness, who was saved by Fuld after he was mortally wounded told Times of Israel that ‘the terrorist deliberately targeted the American-Israeli and had repeatedly sought out someone ‘who spoke English’ before launching his stabbing spree.’

“Meanwhile, Ari’s murderer, Khalil Jabarin, was treated by Israeli doctors in a Jerusalem hospital and his family has already received an advance payment from the Palestinian Authority, part of the PA’s ‘pay-for-slay’ program that refers to terrorists as ‘martyrs’ and treats them like heroes.

“Fatah, the movement led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, blamed Israel for the murders of  Levengrond Yehezkel and Hajbi on its Facebook page, stating that ‘Israel… is incapable of protecting anyone that steals the Palestinian land’ and announced that no Israeli is safe until the Palestinian people gain ‘its rights in its homeland.’ Israel, the Fatah official said, uses ‘terror and murder,’ while he himself coined yesterday’s killing of two Israeli civilians an ‘operation.’

“This July, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promised to continue paying terrorists for murdering Jews:

‘By Allah, even if we have only a penny left it will only be spent on the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners, and only afterwards will it be spent on the rest of the people. This is a group that we appreciate and respect, and we consider it the one paving the way to Palestine’s independence for the future generations.’

“We pray for the day when violence is condemned by all and terrorism is no longer accepted or rewarded.”

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As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.