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Op-Ed: Our National Tragedies; Our National Responsibility

Those who spill Jewish blood, those who callously watch it happen and even try to benefit from it, must not go unpunished.
Published: Thursday, July 26, 2012 1:20 PM


This time of the year in the Jewish calendar has always been a sad one.  This is a sad and difficult time since the destruction of the Temples and the exile of our people and through all of the national tragedies that have befallen our people during this time of the year.

Seven years ago during this period we saw the horrendous destruction of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron which resulted not only in the expulsion of thousands of our people from their lives, homes, and graves, but in the Hamas takeover of Gaza.

Six years ago at this time we went through the 2nd Lebanese War, and now is the time of continuous memorials for our loved ones who fell in heroic battles.

On July 17 we witnessed yet another tragedy.  A tragedy which is quietly ignored by the Israeli press and public - the trials of the terror gang of Arabs who planned, practiced and perpetrated the horrific murders of Asher and Yonatan Palmer HY"D [Hashem Yikom Damo, may G-d avenge his blood], and the theft of his personal weapon following the murders.

At the trial and sentencing of Shchada, who witnessed the crash of the victim's car into a 40 meter fall and calmly stopped his car, got out, walked down the ravine and entered the car moments after the murders, the court ignored the horrific scene.

He then violated the still warm bodies of Asher, the not yet 25 year old veteran of the IDF, and tiny Yonatan, 4 days short of a year old, in order to steal Asher's personal weapon.

During the hearings, the Defense Lawyer maintained that Shchada was an upright person who had work permits in Israel and was the sole supporter of his family, many of whom are ill.

This lawyer then went on to explain to the court that "an evil spirit entered him", that a "devil" entered him when he stole the gun.  As we sat there, I at the time translated this to Michael Palmer, father and grandfather of the victims, and both of us looked at one another with tears in our eyes.

The sentence was 15 months and 1,000 Shekel fine for this decadent and dangerous action of the defendant.  10 months have already been served, therefore this dangerous man will be released to society in only 5 more months.

This sentence was given following the statements of Michael Palmer as to the pain caused to the family due to the horrific actions of the defendant.  Advocate Adrian Agassi, representing the family of the victims, deserves all of the credit of influencing and persuading the prosecution and appeals court to accept Michael Palmers statement and for even realizing the importance of this statement.

During this season, not only is it imperative to remember our history and our heritage, but especially now, it is necessary and important that deeds like this atrocity not be ignored.  We, the Jewish people. who have suffered so much from persecution, hate and destruction must never be silent. We, the Jewish people who again have witnessed and suffered attacks only now in Bulgaria must unite against this hatred and break the ominous silence. whether it is a murderous attack here in our Land or abroad. 

We  shall continue representing the victims of this horrific murder, Asher and Yonatan Palmer z"l and their family, holding close to our hearts their heart- breaking photograph as we witness the callous smiles and kisses blown by the terrorists to their families.  As we appear week after week in the military court in Opher, we must not be silent – and neither can the people of Israel be silent in this tragedy.

We must remember our national responsibility and our responsiblity for one another.