The family of Ahmed Zinva, who died in a gunfight with security forces in Jerusalem’s Old City, will not get special compensation from the National Insurance Institute, the National Labor Court ruled on Sunday.
The ruling, which overturns a ruling by the Haifa Regional Labor Court, was announced by the courts on Monday.
The family will still get the regular compensation paid to any widow with children, but there are certain circumstances where the NII pays additional special compensation to those who lose a family member.
According to the law on the subject, however, any right to special compensation is disqualified if the family is claiming it on account of someone who was perpetrating a “nationalistic” crime.
The Haifa court had ruled that Zinva’s family could theoretically be eligible for such compensation, categorizing the crime as theft rather than stemming from nationalistic motives.
The event occurred on August 10, 2007, when Zinva took a gun from security personnel in broad daylight and eventually engaged in a gunfight with them.
In the ensuing pursuit, Zinva shot and wounded one of the members of the security forces, as well as 12 bystanders.
At one point, Zinva even lost possession of his gun and had an opportunity to surrender.
Instead, he reacquired the weapon and reinitiated gunfire between the sides. During the fight, Zinva fired 14 bullets.
Based on Zinva’s conduct – i.e. the fact that he took the gun in broad daylight in a highly sensitive and symbolic area without trying to hide his act from the security forces, the lack of any prior record for theft and his background as an observant Muslim – the National Labor Court found that his actions could only be interpreted as a “nationalistic” act, disqualifying his family from receiving special compensation.
In addition, the court noted that lawyers for Zinva’s family had failed to propose any plausible alternative explanation.
Also, after the incident, various Islamic organizations took credit for the incident, declaring Zinva’s actions as part of a war against Israel.
Zinva, 28, had a wife and two young daughters. Before the incident, he worked in a factory dealing with chickens and was paid NIS 4,000 per month.
Despite the ruling, the family will still receive NIS 8,200 per month as part of regular compensation entitled to a widow with children under a 1995 law.
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