David Groen
Author and Public Speaker

Shurat Hadin: Israel’s legal warriors

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner at Chabad of South Palm Beach, March 12, 2024

As we find ourselves in what is the most disturbing and frightening time for the Jewish people since the Holocaust, we look for rays of light to give us hope and warriors to make things better. Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center and its legal warriors is one of those lights. An organization founded 20 years ago by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and her husband Aviel Letner, Shurat Hadin’s mission is to bring a semblance of justice to the victims of terror attacks and to show to those who murder Jewish people that there is a price for spilling Jewish blood. On Tuesday, March 12th at Chabad of South Palm Beach, I had the honor of listening to the organization’s president, Darshan-Leitner, speak of its history, detail past and present lawsuits, and explain how it functions. Shurat Hadin is about more than just words. Partnering with the Israeli government over the years, including working with the Mossad, the organization has had $2 billion in judgments awarded, $400 million in damages collected, and has assisted 1,300 terror victims. Part of their success has been in going after Iran in its function as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Since October 7th, as would be expected, their workload has increased dramatically. Besides doing what they can to have judgments awarded in their suits against Hamas, they will pursue UNWRA, the nation of Qatar, and the Red Cross for their culpability in either direct involvement or willful neglect. They have gone after the BDS movement and Harvard University, to name a few. Basically any and all of the worst actors guilty of hurting the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Shurat Hadin’s work makes a difference. As Leitner said in her lecture, they do not stop before they are done. Once they take on a project, they keep going till successful.

The details of their organization are worthwhile for anyone to research in more detail and are immensely impressive. But in listening to Nitsana Darshana-Leitner speak, and her husband Aviel Leitner field questions, I was struck by something both powerful and inspiring. Their passion for their cause. In speaking of the overall incredibly difficult situation Israel finds itself in, Nitsana spoke with emotion, thoughtfulness, and levelheaded intensity. Aviel conducted the Q&A with an understanding and competence of the issues not often seen in a world where to so many out there, image has become more important than substance. As I told a friend after the presentation, in bringing justice to the victims and families of terrorist attacks, in many cases they are likely saving the lives of those who have had something precious ripped away from them.

What I witnessed from these two very special people was the embodiment of the phrase, Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh, All of Israel are responsible for one another. It was indeed an honor to meet them both, and I hope they continue to have the strength and wherewithal to continue their mission for as long as it takes. My hope for them and for all of us, is that we see the day when their services in this area are no longer required.

About the Author
David Groen is the youngest of 5 children and the author of "Jew Face: A Story of love and heroism in Nazi-occupied Holland". He is also the presenter of the story of Bram's Violin, the story of how his uncle's violin returned to his family over 70 years after Bram was murdered in Auschwitz.