Families of Canadian Victims Upset

Canadians who lost family members to terrorism happy for the Shalit family, upset that the murderer was freed.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Terror attack on a bus, archive
Terror attack on a bus, archive
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Canadians who lost family members to Arab terrorism are happy for the Shalit family but are upset that the murderer of their family members is being set free.

Shalom Toronto reported on Wednesday on two Canadian families who lost loved ones on July 6, 1989, when Arab terrorist Abdel Hadi Ghanem steered the Egged 405 bus over a cliff, killing 16 people.

Ghanem survived the attack, was captured and jailed. He was released on Tuesday along with 476 other terrorists in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Two of Ghanem’s victims were Canadian: Shelley Wolochow, a 33-year-old dentist from Vancouver, and Fern Rykiss, a 17-year-old student from Winnipeg.

Fern’s mother, Joyce Rykiss, expressed her sorrow over Ghanem’s release in an e-mail she wrote to the Winnipeg Free Press on Tuesday.

“I was told by two Israeli officials who came to see me after the funeral that he would not be released because he deliberately killed the people,” she wrote.

Fern’s sister, local singer-songwriter Romi Mayes, was also outraged at the news that her sister’s killer is being freed.

“I’m happy for Gilad Shalit and his family, but how is no one thinking about the 1,000 kamikaze(s) . . . that are being set free back out on the streets due to a technicality?” Mayes wrote in a letter to the Winnipeg Free Press. “It’s an embarrassment to any justice system. I’m sure Gilad won’t want any new blood on his hands but I would think the odds of at least one of those prisoners repeat-offending are pretty...good.”

Ruth Wolochow, Shelley’s mother, told the Toronto Star that while she knows “the release of Shalit is so important,” the release of her daughter’s killer has reopened a deep wound.

“It has dug up the whole incident again for us and there’s no closure,” Wolochow said. “It’s brought it back to the present.”

Shelley’s sister, Eve Camerman, who was also on the attacked bus and survived, told the Star, “I don’t think there’s any justification for sending him home. He hasn’t paid his price yet. He’ll return a hero.”

Camerman said that she’s nevertheless “thrilled” for Shalit’s family.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)