14 Days: Terror victims

Israeli news highlights from the past two weeks.

 Terror victims (photo credit: FOREIGN MINISTRY, IDF)
Terror victims
(photo credit: FOREIGN MINISTRY, IDF)

Jerusalem Report logo small (credit: JPOST STAFF)Jerusalem Report logo small (credit: JPOST STAFF)


Three Israelis were killed in a terrorist attack in Elad toward the end of Israel’s Independence Day on May 5: Yonatan Habakkuk, a married father of five, Boaz Gol, also a father of five, and Oren Ben Yiftach, a father of six who gave the two terrorists a ride to Elad without realizing who they were. Three days later, security forces captured the two, aged 19 and 20. On May 13, Sgt.-Maj. Noam Raz, 47, was fatally wounded in clashes with gunmen in Jenin. Raz, who served with distinction for 23 years in the Yamam counterrorism unit, is survived by his wife and six children. The IDF also released the identity of a “heroic officer” killed during a covert operation in Khan Yunis in 2018: Lt.-Col. Mahmoud Kheir al-Din from the Druze town of Hurfeish, the father of two sons.


The Knesset summer session opened on May 9, as the government fought to stay in office after losing its majority during the spring recess and the opposition sought to topple it. The coalition crisis was triggered by the defection on April 6 of former whip Yamina MK Idit Silman, which ended the coalition’s one-seat majority and left the Knesset deadlocked 60-60 between the coalition and opposition. Matan Kahana resigned as Religious Services Minister to rejoin the Knesset in a bid to strengthen the coalition.

Deputy Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament on May 16, 2022. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)Deputy Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament on May 16, 2022. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

The United States warned Israel not to pursue plans for some 4,400 new homes for Jews in the West Bank. The plans were approved by the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria on May 12. The Biden administration “strongly opposes the expansion of settlements, which exacerbates tensions and undermines trust between the parties,” said Deputy State Department spokesperson Jalina Porter.


Incoming travelers no longer have to take PCR tests upon landing at Ben-Gurion Airport as of May 20, the Health Ministry announced, citing the decreased spread of the pandemic in Israel. The ministry also said that foreign citizens need only do an antigen test within 24 hours of their departure from Israel. “We provide all the tools to protect public health, but where there is no need and it is not necessary, we will not impose restrictions on the public,” said Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz.


Justice Khaled Kabub on May 9 became the first Muslim appointed to Israel’s Supreme Court, taking the place of retiring justice Neal Hendel. Previous Arab justices on the 15-member court have been Christian. Meanwhile, MK Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism) was roundly condemned for saying in a panel discussion on Independence Day that he would like to blow up the Supreme Court. Labor leader Merav Michaeli likened the comments to “the incitement and propaganda” that led to Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995.


Uri Savir, the former diplomat and politician who as director-general of the Foreign Ministry played a key role in the Oslo Accords, died on May 13 at the age of 69. In his later years, Savir founded the YaLa Young Leaders program and served as honorary president of the Peres Center, where his wife Aliza was vice president and director of the education for peace and culture department. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called Savir “a man who dedicated his life to Israel’s foreign policy and strove for a different Middle East.” 


Nessim Gaon, the Swiss-Israeli financier who played a key role in the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, died on May 10 at the age of 100. Gaon, who was profiled in The Jerusalem Report of March 21, served as president of the World Sephardi Federation since 1971, vice president of the World Jewish Congress and chairman of the board of governors of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

 Shireen Abu Akleh (credit: AL JAZEERA) Shireen Abu Akleh (credit: AL JAZEERA)

Top Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was fatally shot and another journalist wounded while they were covering an IDF operation against gunmen in Jenin on May 11. Abu Akleh, a Christian who lived in Beit Hanina and held American citizenship, was struck by a bullet from an M16 rifle, sparking an international outcry.  The United States insisted on a thorough investigation into who shot her, but the Palestinian Authority refused Israel’s request to conduct a joint inquiry. The US also led international condemnation of Israel Police violence against mourners attending Abu Akleh’s massive funeral in Jerusalem.