It’s been two decades since Rehamim Dadi’s brother David was murdered along with his friend Chaim Weitzman in an invasion of David’s Ramle home.
David Dadi and Weitzman were asleep on the night of December 21, 1993, when two Gazan men working in another apartment in the building broke into the house and stabbed them to death, cutting off their ears as souvenirs before fleeing.
On Monday, with his younger brother’s killers set to go free, Rehamim Dadi voiced an opinion that has been rare among the bereaved families interviewed in recent days.
“Maybe the release can help bring peace, a little push toward peace,” he said. “[Based on] my experience, there won’t be anything to come from it, but maybe it can help.”
Dadi, now 70, said he had spent the past 20 years mourning the death of his brother – the youngest of nine children.
Looking back, he views the past two decades as a loss on both sides.
“A young man [David] lost his life, and another man has spent the past 20 years in prison and hasn’t been able to start a family. Does he deserve it? Yes, but what has it done for us or for them? Nothing,” he said.
“They kill us, we kill them, nothing comes out of it,” he continued. “I would tell them if I could to stop the wars and start talking.”
But his words of compromise stand in stark contrast to those of Dahlia Ohana, his younger sister. “What can I do other than scream?” she says about the release of her brother’s killers. “This is going to happen, it’s a fact, nothing can be done.”
Asked if the prisoner release could advance the cause of peace, she replied that “the only thing this will bring is more murders. There won’t be peace – I don’t believe in peace. I’m 54 years old, I’m not a little girl anymore; I’ve seen enough wars to know there won’t be any peace.”
Zviah Dahan, 56, was 37 years old when three Palestinian men beat and stabbed her father, Moshe Beker, to death with a knife and pruning shears in a grove outside Rishon Lezion. Two of the suspects in the January 1994 killing later confessed that their plan to kidnap and murder a soldier in Ramle had fallen through, and that they had been sleeping that morning in the field when the 61- year-old Beker had arrived to check whether one of his workers had come in that morning. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Beker made an easy target for the three men, who left him for dead.
The day before Beker was killed, he had been putting the finishing touches on a synagogue he had built in memory of his son Yaakov, a soldier who had died fighting in the First Lebanon War. Dahan had come to visit him at the job site in Rishon Lezion, where he showed off the synagogue.
The next morning, he left for the grove, telling his wife Bella that he’d be back soon. When he didn’t return, she began to worry, and not long afterward, Dahan heard on the radio that a man had been found murdered in a grove in the city.
She said that she had known right away it was her father, and she collapsed in anguish.
“All of these years, we’ve been in pain. But when you open the newspaper or the Internet in the morning and you see that among the 26 [prisoners being released] there’s the man who killed your father in cold blood, it’s a shock,” she said Monday.