Please, Israeli government, I beg you: Don’t go looking for my son’s killers. The ones who cruelly beat Koby and Yosef to death with rocks, the barbarians who attacked two eighth grade boys — my son and his friend — who were on a hike near our home in Israel. Please don’t find them. Don’t apprehend them and put them in jail and make my family and me sit through a long trial and sentencing, where my heart will quake and my stomach will constrict and I will feel that I am about to faint.
Don’t find them guilty and put them in jail. Because I don’t want the torture of knowing that these killers will find their way to freedom one day, will be greeted by their mothers with hugs, while my son and Yosef lie in the ground. I could not bear to go through what 26 Israeli families are going through today: betrayal by the government that is supposed to protect them.
Unfortunately, the Israeli victims, the ones who were killed, have sadly disappeared from our consciousness as a society. Their parents are now old and frail, the weakest in our society. Their children were murdered by Palestinian terrorists in the early eighties or nineties, 20 or 30 years ago. They cannot stand up for themselves or for their children, because they are elderly, fragile, vulnerable. Many have died from the pain.
As a bereaved mother, it is difficult to speak out. It hurts. Yet a group of bereaved mothers created an organization called Forever Mothers. We visited the Knesset last week to lobby against the prison release. Tali Ben Yishai is a member of our group. Her daughter Ruthie and her son-in-law and three grandchildren, including a three-month-old baby, were murdered when a terrorist broke into their house close to midnight and stabbed them all to death in their beds. It is conceivable that one day their murderer could be released. After all, today the Israeli government is releasing the murderers of Rachel Weiss who along with her three children was killed in a bus bombing. As the bus burned, she tried to get her children off. A soldier who was on the bus, on his way home, David Delerosa, tried to help her but the bus exploded before they could exit. They were burned to death.
Shira Avraham, a member of Forever Mothers, knows what happens when terrorists are released. Her nine-month-old baby Shaked was murdered in her home by a terrorist who had been released in a former deal. He broke into Shira’s home the night of the festive meal of Rosh Hashanah, and murdered her baby and the friend who was holding her.
At our meeting, one of the few Knesset members who attended said, “It’s a disgrace that you bereaved mothers have to come fight for your children. It is the government that should be protecting you.”
He is right. It should not be bereaved families leading this fight. The government should be protecting the most vulnerable families. In addition, every Israeli citizen should be protesting.
And in some cases, it is not just the Israeli government that should be protecting us: It should be the American government as well. For example, Frederick Rosenfeld, whose killers are being released, was an American citizen. Originally from New York, he was killed when he was 48 years old, stabbed to death. Yet the American government, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, works to expedite his killer’s release.
Chavi Levi’s son Avichai was 16 when he was killed by terrorists, on his way home with an anniversary cake for his parents. The killers were apprehended and Chavy and her husband sat at his trial for a year. The killers were sentenced. Less than three years later, these murderers were released in the Shalit deal.
Imagine that you had a child who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Now imagine that the Israeli government, goaded on by America, released them home to a hero’s welcome.
Better that my son’s killers have not been found.