Judea Pearl to light memorial candle for slain son

Father of Jewish journalist killed in Pakistan says lighting memorial flame feels like "fulfilling a promise to Danny."

Judea Pearl 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Judea Pearl 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prof. Judea Pearl, the father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, will light the memorial flame at the Jewish Agency’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony on Monday to commemorate Jews slain in terror attacks and in anti- Semitic incidents abroad.
Pearl is an Israeli-born computer scientist and a recipient of the Turing Award, a top prize given annually in his field.
Also present will be Daniel Pearl’s mother, Ruth Pearl, his two sisters, his widow, Mariane Pearl, and his son Adam Pearl, born several months after his father’s murder.
Daniel Pearl, a Jewish correspondent for The Wall Street Journal who held dual Israeli-American citizenship, was beheaded by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan while researching a story about ties between “shoe bomber” Richard Reid and al-Qaida.
Pearl’s kidnapping and subsequent murder shocked America, and his last words, affirming his Jewishness, became widely quoted.
“My father’s Jewish, my mother’s Jewish, I’m Jewish. My family follows Judaism. We’ve made numerous family visits to Israel,” Pearl was recorded saying before his murder.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post by phone from his hotel in the capital on Saturday evening, Pearl said that he was honored to light the memorial flame and that by doing so he felt that he was “fulfilling a promise to Danny to convey his last words to the people in Israel and to the people of the world.”
He said that holding the ceremony in Jerusalem was especially important because it is the city in which his son had his bar mitzva.
“I think I’m closing the circle here,” he said.
Pearl said that since the time of his son’s murder, the world has become a much more dangerous place for journalists.
“I think it’s worse now, much worse,” he said, noting that while “everybody was shocked by the idea that a journalist was being attacked, kidnapped and murdered” when it happened to his son, such incidents have become “routine.” Such incidents don’t “even make the news” anymore, he said.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, while 21 journalists were killed in 2002, 70 died in 2012 and eight have already been killed in 2013.
“In terms of Jews, the number of anti-Semitic incidents is on the rise around the world...and getting worse,” he asserted. “I can also see it in my university, UCLA, where Jewish students are being targeted, not physically, but for being supporters of Israel."
“We have to speak out,” Pearl said.
The World Zionist Organization, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael- Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA are co-sponsoring the Jewish Agency ceremony.
According to the Jewish Agency, “approximately 200 Jews have been killed in terror attacks targeting Jews around the world” since Israel’s founding in 1948.
A memorial bearing the names of those killed is to be unveiled at the ceremony.