Maoz Funeral 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Bereaved father Shalom Rahum found out about the prisoner exchange for Gilad Schalit just like the rest of Israel: sitting at home watching TV.
Though at first it didn’t dawn on him that the killer of his son Ophir would be released as part of the deal, he admitted that on some level he always knew the day would come that she would be released.
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“To tell you the truth, even though I never thought it would really happen, I think inside I knew and just pushed it back.”
Rahum feels personally betrayed, blindsided and furious at the signing of the deal, which will see Ophir’s killer Amna Mouna released along with more than 1,000 other security prisoners.
“They told us then, we’ll do whatever we can to catch the terrorists and
bring them to justice and then the day comes that they release them and
they do it without even telling us, without even warning us.”
Rahum doesn’t feel the release is a personal slight. Rather, he believes
that it will bring about the resumption of the terror attacks of the
Second Intifada and lead to unknown numbers of new bereaved parents like
“For every party, there’s an after-party. A few days after he [Schalit]
gets back and is back with his family and we’ll go back to our problems
with terror. What will have changed in the Middle East? Nothing, and
we’ve just given a strong tailwind to terror.”
The murder of Ashkelon teen Ophir Rahum was one of the most iconic and
horrifying killings of the terror wave of the Second Intifada. In a very
Israeli version of Internet horror stories involving teenagers,
16-year-old Rahum was lured to his death by Mouna, then 25, who posed on
the Internet chat service ICQ as a young woman named Sally who was a
new immigrant to Israel and didn’t have a full grasp of Hebrew.
After repeated urgings and with promises of physical intimacy, Mouna,
then a journalist and member of a Fatah youth group, convinced Rahum to
travel to the Jerusalem central bus station, where she met him and drove
with him in a cab toward Ramallah. On the way, the cab stopped at a
predetermined location and gunmen drove up and riddled Rahum with
gunfire, as the teen reportedly screamed in terror, refusing to step out
of the car.
Mouna has never expressed any remorse for the crime.
Rahum doesn’t mince words, and his voice betrays a very clear tone of anger and bewilderment at the Shalit deal.
“This deal is a surrender to terror. No state, no state in the world
would make a deal like this that would put the lives of their citizens
in danger in this way. In Israel, we tell all these stories about how
the deal shows how strong our society is, but we are making a deal with a
people who see this as a sign of weakness,” he said.
“You tell me, if you were a terrorist being freed on Tuesday, what are
you going to tell your friends who are staying behind? You’d tell them,
don’t worry, soon enough we’ll get you out too,” Rahum added.
For Rahum, the blame lies with the media, which he said has been
“enlisted” to run a non-stop campaign in favor of releasing Shalit
whatever the cost, and does not talk about the security threat the
soon-to-be-released prisoners pose to Israeli citizens. He accused the
media of “being drunk, all of them” and said that “nobody is telling it
like it is, that the emperor is wearing no clothes.”
He also called for a public debate on the Shalit deal, which he said has been scuttled by media enthusiasm for the deal.
Rahum’s anger clearly comes from the pain of a bereaved parent, which he
said is every bit as strong as it was the day Ophir was killed.
“Nothing helps this pain; not time, not even if I had another 100
children. Nothing can fill this place, nothing can take the place of
Ophir. Nothing helps this pain and nothing can change this.”