In full recording of teen’s emergency call, kidnappers heard celebrating

The full recording of the emergency call placed by one of three abducted teens, in which the kidnappers can be heard celebrating, was released.

Wednesday’s release of the full audio, which is 2 minutes, 9 seconds, comes a day after the first 49 seconds were released.

In the full tape, the kidnappers are heard singing in Arabic and cheering, as well as calling out “three!”

In the earlier recording, the teen who placed the call — believed to be Gilad Shaar — says he has been kidnapped. The kidnappers are heard yelling at the teens prior to sounds believed to be gunfire.

Blood and bullet casings reportedly were found in the burnt-out car that is believed to have been used to abduct the teens on June 12. Their bodies were found Monday night in a West Bank field near Hebron.

Gilad’s mother told Ynet on Wednesday that the recording was not released until after the bodies of her son, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach were found out of fear that they would punish him if he were being held captive. The full recording can be heard on Ynet as part of the interview with Bat-Galim Shaar.

Police told the families that the gunshots heard in the recording could be blanks or that the guns were fired out the window, since casings were found outside of the burned-out car, she said.

“We had real hope that they were alive,” Shaar told Ynet.

The call was transferred to the operator’s supervisor, who also tried to speak to the caller. The supervisor reportedly called back eight times, first receiving no answer then being transferred to voice mail.

The supervisor did not report the call, believing it to be a prank. Several senior officers were demoted Monday after the release of an investigation that found “severe failure of conduct” in the handling of the call.

Israeli reporter suspended after false story on Disney abduction

An Israeli reporter was suspended after reporting on an unfounded story that an Israeli girl was briefly abducted at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Sivan Cohen of Israel’s Channel 10 had reported during Sunday’s news broadcast that a 9-year-old Israeli girl was taken from her parents and later found using security camera tapes in a bathroom stall drugged and with her head shaved. Cohen said the incident, which occurred over Passover, “sounds like an urban legend.”

On Monday night the station confirmed on the evening news that the story was false and that Cohen had been “misled” by a source—one of the allegedly abducted girl’s parents. Disney officials did not confirm the story.

The hoax reportedly is well known in the United States. 

“Cohen has been suspended until the examination into the circumstances that led to the story airing is concluded,” Channel 10 said in a statement.

Signs of life

On Sept. 6, the day Israel announced it was lifting its air and sea blockade against Lebanon, I sat across a conference table at the Israeli consulate from KarnitGoldwasser, and she was livid.

“I know Resolution 1701 is starting to be implemented,” she said. “That means the last Israeli soldier will leave Lebanon; Israel will stop the blockade; Israel will do whatever the implementation says for it to do.”

Goldwasser’s voice became a bit more strained, the voice of someone on the verge of screaming or tears. “But the preamble to 1701 says the captured soldiers should be sent back home. And no one is asking: What about them?”
Goldwasser was referring to the two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah on a July 12 raid into Israeli territory. Those captured soldiers are Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, Karnit’s husband. Since the afternoon of July 12, when an area commander came to visit her with the news, she has devoted herself to freeing the two, as well as Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in Gaza 17 days earlier.
She has traveled across Europe and America, met with heads of state and anybody else she thought could help and spoken out on behalf of the captured soldiers. She wants to make sure that they are not forgotten.

To even think that Israel would forget about the three seems ludicrous. After all, Shalit’s capture in Gaza led to an ongoing series of Israeli reprisals. Israel caught and imprisoned a quarter of the Hamas-led Palestinian Cabinet in retaliation.

The capture of the soldiers in the north provoked Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to launch a second Lebanon War that led the Mideast to the brink of a regional conflagration. The two reasons for the war: to stop Hezbollah missiles from landing in northern Israel by disarming or removing the terrorist group within southern Lebanon and to force the return of Goldwasser and Regev.

But the international politicking and larger strategic aims of the war could easily overshadow the fate of three lone soldiers, Karnit knows. And as if she needed a reminder that captured Israelis can languish for years in enemy hands, Lebanese TV last week broadcast a video showing captured Israeli airman Ron Arad, taken prisoner by Hezbollah 21 years ago. Today, Arad’s whereabouts are still a mystery.

So Karnit refuses to let the world — including her own government — forget. “One of the goals of the war was to bring him back,” Karnit said, “which means the war hasn’t ended. Not for me.”

Karnit, 30, and Ehud, 31, grew up in the same northern Israeli town of Nahariya. They attended the same schools, though they didn’t get to know each other until nine years ago, just prior to entering university. They have been together ever since. Their first wedding anniversary will take place Oct. 14.
Both are pursuing master’s degrees in environmental engineering at the Technion. Karnit, who is on a full scholarship, is in her final year — though she has put her studies on hold. Udi — Ehud Goldwasser’s nickname — is midway through his course of study.

I asked Karnit to describe her husband’s qualities. The hardness disappeared from her voice, and I noticed, suddenly, that she is a beautiful young woman, her brown hair pulled back to reveal strong but delicate features. Picture Justine Henin-Hardenne, the Belgian tennis champion, without the racquet but with just as much, if not more, resolve.

“His qualities?” she said. “How many hours do we have?”
She described her husband as a man who loves books, culture and movies, “but good movies,” she said. Then she told a story.
Several years ago, Udi and Karnit were walking home with friends on Yom Kippur. A heated discussion raged over whether, in the future, they should leave Israel to live elsewhere. Everyone else agreed that they had to stay.
“We are educated; we serve in the army,” Karnit said. “If we leave, who will stay?”
Udi said everyone should leave. Not for good but for a few years to experience and learn from what the world has to offer.
“I got so mad at him,” Karnit said. “I said, ‘Udi, why do you always have to go against the flow?’ He said, ‘Karnit, someone always has to offer the opposite point of view. Someone should always think differently. This is the way you have a deeper discussion.'”
I asked Karnit about her husband’s politics. Right? Left?
“He didn’t want to vote for either,” she said, with a smile. “He voted for the Greens. He voted for nature.”
At the time he was captured, Goldwasser was patrolling a section of road between two community centers near Moshav Zar’it in the Western Galilee.
Early on the morning of July 12, Hezbollah sent a barrage of rockets into northern towns as a diversion, then infiltrated across the international border and fired antitank rockets at Goldwasser’s unit, killing three soldiers and abducting him and Regev.
A tank sent to retrieve the soldiers triggered a large explosive device, and four more soldiers were killed.
Karnit was visiting with friends when the regional commander arrived. It was Udi’s last day of reserve duty, and she was planning for his arrival.”Usually they come to tell you when someone is dead,” she recalled. “I was out of the room. I walked in and saw the look on my friend’s face. I told her I will never forget that look.”
The commander told Karnit that the army didn’t know what happened to her husband. But of the seven dead soldiers, one was still unidentified. The army needed a DNA sample to help identify the last body.
Karnit drove with her mother and army personnel from the couple’s apartment near the Technion back to her home in Nahariya. Ehud had been in the reserves for a month. In preparation for his expected return that day, Karnit had washed all their laundry and even cleaned his toothbrush. As she searched home for any genetic trace of Udi, she felt in her heart it was unnecessary. “I knew he was not dead,” she said, ” because he is my soul.”

Every Jew Is on the Front Lines of War

Ilan Halimi’s barbarous murder in France should awaken all Jews to the most significant truth of our times: Today, every Jew in the world is on the front lines of war.

As was the case 70 years ago, every Jew today is a target for our enemies, who shout from every soapbox and prove at every opportunity that their goal is the annihilation of the Jewish people. From 1933-1945, the enemy was Nazi Germany. Today, the enemy is political Islam. Its call for jihad aimed at annihilating the Jews and dominating the world is answered by millions of people throughout the world.

Among the lessons of the Holocaust, there is one that is almost never mentioned. That lesson is that it is possible, and indeed fairly easy, to exterminate the Jews. The fact that the Holocaust happened proves that it is absolutely possible for the Jewish people to be wiped off the map — just as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas leader Khaled Mashal promise.

The story of Halimi’s murder at the hands of a terrorist gang of French Muslims brings to the surface the various pathologies now converging to make the prospect of annihilating all Jews seem possible to our enemies. First, there are the murderers who took such apparent pleasure and felt such pride in the fact that for 20 days they tortured their Jewish hostage to death.

This makes sense. Anti-Semitism in the Muslim-dominated suburbs of Paris and other French cities is all-encompassing.

As Nidra Poller related recently in The Wall Street Journal, “One of the most troubling aspects of this affair is the probable involvement of relatives and neighbors, beyond the immediate circle of the gang [of kidnappers], who were told about the Jewish hostage and dropped in to participate in the torture.”

It appears that Halimi’s murderers had some connection to Hamas. French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said that police found propaganda published by the Palestinian Charity Committee or the CBSP at the home of one of the suspects.

The European Jewish Press reported that Israel has alleged that the organization is a front group for Palestinian terrorists, and that in August 2003, the U.S. government froze the organization’s U.S. bank accounts, accusing it of links with Hamas.

Halimi’s family alleges that throughout the 20 days of his captivity, the French police refused to take the anti-Semitic motivations of the kidnappers into account. The investigators insisted on viewing his kidnapping as a garden variety kidnap-for-ransom criminal case, which they said generally involves no threat to the life of the captive.

The police maintained their refusal to investigate the anti-Semitic motivations of the kidnappers, in spite of the fact that in their e-mail and telephone communications with Halimi’s family, his captors repeatedly referred to his Judaism and on at least one occasion recited verses from the Quran, while Halimi was heard screaming in agony in the background.

The family alleges that if the police had been willing to acknowledge that Halimi was abducted because he was Jewish, they would have recognized that his life was in clear and immediate danger and acted with greater urgency.

Like the police, the French government waited an entire week after Halimi was found naked, with cuts and burns over 80 percent of his body, by a train station in suburban Paris, before acknowledging the anti-Semitic nature of the crime. According to press reports, the French government was at least partially motivated to suppress the issue of anti-Semitism because it feared inflaming the passions of French Muslims who make up between 10 to 13 percent of the French population and a quarter of the population under 25 years old.

(Now that the French government has acknowledged that the crime was motivated by hatred of Jews, it is behaving responsibly in pursuing the murderers and decrying the attack on French Jewry.)

In addition to the exterminationist anti-Semitism of Halimi’s murderers and the unwillingness of the French authorities to acknowledge the anti-Semitic nature of the crime until it was too late, there is one more aspect of the case that bears note. That is Israel’s reaction to the atrocity. In short, there has been absolutely no official Israeli reaction to the abduction, torture and murder of a Jew in France by a predominantly Muslim terrorist gang that kidnapped, tortured and murdered him because he was a Jew.

No Israeli government minister, official or spokesman has condemned his murder. No Israeli official has demanded that the French authorities investigate why the police refused to take anti-Semitism into account during Halimi’s captivity. No Israeli official flew to Paris to participate in Halimi’s funeral or any other memorial or demonstration in his memory.

The Foreign Ministry’s Web site makes no mention of his murder. The Israeli Embassy in Paris — which has been without an ambassador for the past several months — only publicly expressed its condolences to the Halimi family on Feb. 23, 10 days after Halimi was found — this, when the French Jewish community considers Halimi’s murder to have been the greatest calamity to have befallen it in recent years; when aliyah rates rose 25 percent last year; when Halimi’s mother told reporters that her son had planned to make aliyah soon and was just staying in France to save money to finance his move to Israel.

For its part, as Michelle Mazel previously pointed out in The Jerusalem Post, the French press has noted that the Israeli media has not given the story prominent coverage. Halimi’s murder has not appeared on the front pages of the papers or at the top of the television or radio broadcasts.

Although appalling, the absence of an official Israeli outcry against Halimi’s murder is not the least surprising. Today, the unelected Kadima interim government, like the Israeli media, is doing everything in its power to lull the Israeli people into complacency toward the storm of war raging around us.

Against the daily barrages of Kassam rockets on southern Israel; nervous reports of Al Qaeda setting up shop in Judea, Samaria and Gaza; the ascension of Hamas to power in the Palestinian Authority; and Iran’s threats of nuclear annihilation, Israel’s citizenry, under the spell of Kadima and the media, appears intent on ignoring the dangers and pretending that what happens to Jews in France has nothing to do with Jews elsewhere.

Israel’s societal meekness accords well with Kadima’s ideology. Its creed was best expressed by Foreign Minister, Justice Minister and Immigration Minister Tzipi Livni last month at the Herzliya Conference and is best characterized as “conditional Zionism.” In her speech, Livni explained that Israel’s international legitimacy is conditional. Unless a Palestinian state is established in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, she warned, Israel will lose its legitimacy as a Jewish state.

So for Livni, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Shimon Peres and the rest of the Kadima gang, unlike every other people in the world, the Jewish people do not have an inherent, natural right to exist as a free, sovereign and independent people in its homeland. For Kadima, the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in our land is conditional on our enemies’ acceptance of our right to be here.

Kadima’s conditional Zionism finds expression in its policies in Judea and Samaria. There, the gist of the government’s actions is that the only people with inherent human rights in Judea and Samaria are the Arabs.

Throughout the areas, the government, backed by the post-Zionist courts, prohibits Jews from building on land that Jews own. Today, as Moshe Rosenbaum, the mayor of Beit El explains, even receiving a permit to build an extension on a standing house or additional classrooms in a school is all but impossible.

While Olmert and Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra have repeatedly condemned Jews for allegedly cutting down trees owned by Arabs in Judea and Samaria, the government has said nothing and done nothing to stop the wholesale destruction of Jewish orchards and national forests by Palestinians.

Over the past several months, in the vicinity of Gush Etzion alone, thousands of Jewish-owned trees have been chopped down by Arab vandals. Two national forests have been laid to waste. Busy directing their energies and attentions at delegitimizing the Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria, the government has ignored Israel’s enemies.

And so, as Kassam attacks against Israel multiply by the day and Hamas leaders hold Jew-hating love fests with Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran, Olmert has assured us that Hamas is not a strategic threat to Israel.

When the Israeli government itself is claiming Jewish rights are not inherent but rather defined and granted by others, it can surprise no one that the government has ignored Halimi’s murder.

Luckily for both Israel and the Jews around the world, the current leadership is not our only option. We have other leaders, the most prominent among them being Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu and former IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya’alon. Both of these men understand well that the two most important lessons for the Jews from the Holocaust are that we must never grant anyone else the authority, legitimacy or power to define who we are or what our rights are, and we are all responsible for one another.

Recently, Ya’alon, who is currently based at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, came to Jerusalem for the day to speak at a conference on the strategic implications of Hamas’ takeover of the Palestinian Authority. There, Ya’alon explained what he considers to be the key to Israel’s security.

Israel, he said, has the military capability to defeat its enemies. But for Israel to be able to take the steps it needs to take to win the war being waged for our destruction, Ya’alon explained, first we need to accept the fact that we have an intrinsic, unconditional right to our land and our sovereignty.

Once we understand that our rights are unconditional, we will understand that we have an obligation to wage war against those who work for our destruction. That is, Ya’alon explained, that for Israel to survive, we need to return to our unconditional Zionism.

Sir Martin Gilbert, perhaps the preeminent British historian of World War II, has said, “The interesting thing about history is that it always repeats itself.”

As was the case in World War II, today the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world are being targeted for annihilation by an enemy bent on world domination. Halimi’s monstrous murder is just the latest sign of this disturbing reality. Today, as 70 years ago, the Jews are disserved by poor and weak leaders who refuse to see the dangers.

But if we learn from history and we assess our options, we will see that history needn’t repeat itself. It is within our power to reverse the course of our all too repetitious past.

Reprinted with permission from The Jerusalem Post.

Caroline B. Glick is the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.


Intifada Put Aside in Slaying of Two Girls

Two child murders in Israel pushed all else off the Israeli news. The intifada, next month’s elections, the souring economy and soaring poverty levels, all were forgotten by a country obsessed with the almost simultaneous disappearance of two girls in Jerusalem — one Jewish, the other Arab.

Massive searches by police and thousands of volunteers were conducted throughout the cold days and colder nights following the disappearances of the two girls.

On Dec. 10, the body of Hodaya Kedem Pimstein, a 22-month-old Jewish toddler, was discovered in a shallow grave in the Jerusalem woods. On Dec. 13, police had planned to distribute 15,000 fliers with a picture of 5-year-old Nur Abu Tir to Arabs arriving for Friday prayers, but before they could act, her body was found at the bottom of drainage pit in her village.

There was no connection between the murders. But in Israel, nothing is free of the interface between Arab and Jew. In a society where hundreds of Arab and Jewish children have lost their lives, killed at the other’s hands in the last two years of the intifada, the case created pockets of cooperation between the warring groups.

The disappearance of Nur while playing outside her East Jerusalem village home galvanized a search by thousands of Israeli police and volunteers. A police helicopter scanned the terrain near Nur’s village, but it hovered close by, to avoid wandering into a nearby area controlled by the Palestinian Authority and risk being shot down by snipers.

Israeli policemen, in the last two years perceived as enemy intruders, converged on Nur’s village, scouring the streets with specially trained German shepherds sniffing for her traces. Suspicions in Nur’s murder centered on the child as victim of a feud between family clans.

A Palestinian laborer working illegally in Israel gave police the key tip that led to finding Hodaya’s body and catching her killer.

On Dec. 7 Hodaya’s distraught father reported his daughter missing. The child of separated parents, she was spending the weekend with him. He reported that he had left Hodaya in the living room watching television; when he came back a few minutes later, she was gone.

During the ensuing days of intensive searching, the father gave numerous interviews to the media, appearing on television in tearful appeals to find his child. Hodaya’s photo and photos of her parents plastered the front pages of every newspaper and were shown on television broadcasts in the country.

A Palestinian laborer, whose work in Israel had been rendered illegal due to an expired work permit, saw the photos. The previous week, walking through a wooded area, he had noticed a man digging a hole between the trees. On Dec. 10, he identified the father as the man he had seen, and after receiving assurances he would not be penalized, led searchers to the site.

Within hours, Hodaya’s body had been dug up. Her father was arrested and confessed to drowning the girl in the bathtub and then burying her. Authorities said the murder was plotted a month earlier to hurt the child’s mother.

So far apart are the Israelis and Palestinians that their identical misfortune prompted no communication between the girls’ families. The situation illustrates the huge gap between people who live just hundreds of yards apart.

A newly published survey of Israelis and Palestinians by the well-respected international dispute resolution organization, Common Ground, reveals that the main gap between the two groups is not ideology but mistrust. Although 70 percent of both groups would be amenable to a political compromise, neither Palestinians nor Israelis give the other side credit for good will.

But the parallel child murders did generate some exceptional, if small, gestures. While both girls were still missing, Hodaya’s mother said tearfully to the press, "Maybe Nur and Hodaya are together now, a symbol of two peoples who must finally end their hostility."

Nur’s family received a solidarity visit by a Jewish father, whose own daughter perished this year in a Palestinian terrorist incident. Bearing sandwiches and commiseration, the man said, "I know what it is to lose a daughter."

The Palestinian governor of the nearby Bethlehem region appealed to Arab residents and Palestinian security officials to aid in the search for Hodaya. And the Palestinian worker who solved Hodaya’s murder said he sought no reward: "If I need to get any paycheck, I will get it from God."

In life there was no connection between Hodaya and Nur. Had they lived out their days to mature, have families and grow old in Jerusalem, the girls almost certainly would never have met. Only their untimely brutal deaths created a bond between them.

Helen Schary Motro, an American writer and lawyer living in Israel, teaches at the Tel Aviv University law school.