Palestinian teen convicted in murder of Israeli mother of 6

A Palestinian teenager was convicted in the murder of Dafna Meir, a mother of six, in her West Bank home.

On Monday, the 16-year-old assailant was convicted of murder and illegal possession of a weapon in Judea military court, the Israel Defense Forces announced the following day.

He was arrested two days after the Jan. 17 murder in Otniel and confessed to the killing during an interrogation, the Shin Bet security service said at the time of his arrest. He was indicted in February.

The teen watched Palestinian television broadcasts that incited against Israel and said Israel was “killing young Palestinians” before he allegedly committed the crime, the Shin Bet said.

The teen returned home after the murder and spent the evening with his family watching a movie, the indictment said.

Palestinian teen indicted in murder of Israeli mother of six

A Palestinian teen was indicted in the brutal murder of Dafna Meir, a mother of six, in her West Bank home.

The teen, from a nearby West Bank village, was indicted Monday in military court. He was arrested two days after the Jan. 17 murder in Otniel and confessed to the crime during an interrogation, according to the Shin Bet security service.

Meir was stabbed to death while fighting off her attacker in what is believed to have been an attempt to save three of her children who were at home. She was the mother of four children and a foster mother of two young children.

The alleged assailant ran off after he was unable to remove the knife from her body.

The teen watched Palestinian television broadcasts that incited against Israel and said Israel was “killing young Palestinians” before he allegedly committed the crime, according to the Shin Bet.

The indictment reportedly states the teen returned home after the murder and spent the evening with his family watching a movie.

Jewish woman stabbed to death in West Bank settlement

A Jewish Israeli woman in her 30s was stabbed to death inside her home in the West Bank settlement of Otniel, near Hebron.

The Israel Defense Forces and police are investigating the murder late Sunday afternoon as a terrorist attack. The woman was later identified as 39-year-old Daphne Meir. Three of her six children reportedly were home at the time of the attack, during which Meir reportedly struggled with her attacker for several minutes.

The IDF said in a statement that a “terrorist” broke into the woman’s home and stabbed her to death. The assailant has since been arrested.

The IDF called on residents of the area to remain in their homes on Sunday evening and lock their doors and windows.

Paramedics said they found the woman unconscious and without a pulse. They attempted to resuscitate her but were unsuccessful and declared her dead at the scene, Magen David Adom said.

Rabbi Yaakov Litman and his 18-year-old son, Netanel, were killed in November in a Palestinian shooting attack near Otniel as they drove in a car with five other family members to the pre-wedding celebrations of Litman’s daughter.

Also on Sunday, a Palestinian assailant was shot and killed as he attempted to stab a soldier near the Samaria Regional Brigade headquarters outside of Nablus.

Palestinian teen arrested in murder of West Bank mother of six

A Palestinian teen was arrested in the stabbing murder of Dafna Meir, an Israeli mother of six, in her West Bank home.

The suspect, 16, was arrested overnight Monday in a Palestinian village near the scene of the attack, where he was hiding out, the Israel Defense Forces said. He reportedly was given up by local residents

The arrest of Morad Bader Abdullah Adais was part of a joint IDF and Shin Bet security service operation. He reportedly confessed to the attack.

Adais is accused of entering Meir’s home in Otniel and stabbing her to death while three of her children were at home. Meir’s 17-year-old daughter gave police a description of the killer.

Hundreds attended Meir’s funeral Monday morning. At the time of the funeral, a pregnant Israeli mother was stabbed by a teenage Palestinian attacker in Tekoa in the Gush Etzion bloc.

The U.S. State Department in a statement issued Monday condemned the two attacks “in the strongest terms.”

“We were appalled and deeply saddened by the death of Dafna Meir, a mother of six, who was attacked on Sunday in her own home. We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and community,” the statement issued by department spokesman John Kirby said. “Today, a pregnant Israeli woman, Michal Froman, was stabbed in the West Bank. We wish her a full and complete recovery. These horrific incidents underscore the importance of affirmative steps to restore calm, reduce tensions and bring an immediate end to the violence.”

The statement came as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, speaking Monday at a Tel Aviv conference organized by the Institute for National Security Studies, accused Israel of having “two standards of adherence to rule of law in the West Bank — one for Jews and one for Palestinians.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Otniel on Tuesday morning, where he received a security briefing and paid a condolence call to the Meir family.

“Whoever wants to see the truth about the roots of the conflict between us and the Palestinians should come to Otniel and see here a wonderful family that only wants coexistence and peace,” Netanyau said in Otniel. “They should see the young people, inflamed by incitement, who come to murder women here, a mother of six, and in Tekoa, a pregnant woman. They come to murder them and say: We will destroy you all, in Tel Aviv and Jaffa as well. This is the truth. There is humanity here and the desire for peace and coexistence on one side and boundless hatred on the other.

“The root of the conflict is the refusal to recognize the Jews’ right to a have a state within any borders, here, in Tel Aviv, anywhere. I want to spread this truth to the world, and I want us to stand on the truth because the truth will win in the end, and so will we.”

Otniel suspect’s father: Family was unaware of crime, shouldn’t lose home

The father of the Palestinian teen accused of fatally stabbing an Israeli woman in a West Bank settlement said his family’s home should not be demolished because it’s “very possible” that if he’d known of his son’s guilt, he would have turned the boy in to Israeli officials.

Abu Adham, whose son Morad Bader Abdullah Adais was arrested Monday night and charged with murdering Dafna Meir in her home in the Otniel settlement near Hebron, asked in an interview Tuesday on Israel’s Channel 2, “Why should I be punished for what the kid did?”

Adham said in the interview, according to The Times of Israel, that his son, who reportedly confessed to murdering the mother of six, had not acted suspiciously.

“He has everything in life … he was happy. He has tons of clothes, food and drink. He has everything,” the father said.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to demolish the family’s home and bar family members from working in Israel.

According to the Times of Israel, the Israeli news site Walla reported Tuesday that Adham told the Palestinian media he was “proud” of his son for stabbing Meir, but other family members disputed that account, telling Channel 2, “No one here is proud of the murder.”

Family of alleged Palestinian gunman says father did not turn him in

The family of the Palestinian man arrested in the fatal shooting of a Jewish-Israeli father and son denied that he was turned in by his father.

Shadi Mutawa, 28, a member of Islamic Jihad, was arrested on Saturday night and has implicated himself in the West Bank killings of Rabbi Yaakov Litman and his son teenage son Netanel, according to the Shin Bet security service.

A day after the arrest, the Shin Bet announced that Mutawa was turned in by his father, who feared that the family’s home would be demolished.

One of Mutawa’s uncles told the Israeli daily Haaretz on Tuesday that the alleged gunman’s father was detained at a checkpoint near Hebron, but did not turn in his son.

“We heard it and I reject it vehemently,” he told Haaretz. “The father was detained at the checkpoint and we know nothing about what is happening and whether Shadi was really involved in it or not. We are sitting at home and following the news.”

The Israeli military has used the demolition of family homes of Palestinian terrorists as a deterrent against future attacks.

Litman, 40, and Netanel, 18, were killed in the attack last Friday while riding in a vehicle near the West Bank settlement of Otniel with five other members of their family on the way to Shabbat pre-wedding celebrations for Litman’s daughter.

Couple who postponed wedding after terror attack invites public

The young couple who postponed their marriage by a week after the terrorist murder of the bride’s father and brother has invited the public to their wedding.

Sarah Techiya Litman and Ariel Beigle will be married Nov. 26 in the Jerusalem International Convention Center. Litman’s father, Rabbi Yaakov Litman, and 18-year-old brother, Netanel, were killed in the West Bank last Friday.

“This evening, instead of wearing the bridal dress, I will sit on the floor with a torn shirt,” Sarah said Tuesday, the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot reported. “But very soon, we will marry in a large and happy wedding. We will go on and be happy as Father and Netanel always were. We will not be crushed.”

The couple is calling it the “million person wedding,” according to Yediot, which quoted the couple as saying, “Multitudes will come to make us happy.”

Litman told the newspaper that her fiance has already begun to fill the void left by her father and her brother, who were shot to death near the West Bank settlement of Otniel as they drove in a car with five other family members to the Shabbat pre-wedding celebrations.

“My angel in white has a difficult mission,” she said, adding that Beigle has become a surrogate father to her younger siblings.

The public wedding invitation begins with the biblical quote “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy, for I have fallen but I have gotten up” (Michah 7:8).

Shadi Mutawa, 28, a member of Islamic Jihad, was arrested on Saturday night and has implicated himself in the killings, according to the Shin Bet security service.

Israeli father, son killed in West Bank shooting attack

Two Israelis, a father and his son, were killed near a West Bank settlement in a shooting attack.

The incident occurred Friday afternoon near Otniel, which is located 10 miles southwest of Hebron, as unidentified individuals opened fire on a grey Hyundai minivan with seven passengers from the same family and another vehicle, Haaretz reported.

The father was in his 40s. His son who died in the attack was 18. A third person, a 16-year-old male, was lightly injured from a bullet that entered his leg. Another passenger, a woman, was lightly injured. The shooters fled the scene. The family was headed to a nearby settlement to celebrate the wedding of a relative.

The Israeli news site identified the fatalities as Ya’akov Litman and his son, Netanel.

Israel Defense Forces troops surrounded the nearby Palestinian town of Yatta and are searching for suspects.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter following the attack: “We will reach the lowly murderers and reckon with them as we have done in the past. Israel will continue to fight terrorism wherever necessary.”

Separately, Israeli troops on Friday shot dead a Palestinian man during clashes in the town of Halhul north of Hebron. Hassan Jihad al-Baw, 23, died after being shot in the heart, doctors at Hebron’s al-Ahli Hospital told the Ma’an news agency. Several dozen were injured in the clashes. Another Palestinian who was shot Thursday in riots near Hebron died of his wounds Friday. Issa al-Shalaldah, 22, sustained injuries to internal organs, Ma’an reported.

On Thursday, the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, published a report of terrorist attacks in October, which counted 620 incidents that ended with the death of 10 Israelis and one foreign national living in Israel, and the injuring of over 80 people. Of those, 36 Israelis – half of them civilians and the rest security forces personnel – sustained moderate or severe injuries.

Four of the Israeli fatalities were murdered in shooting attacks outside Jerusalem. Another five died in stabbing and shooting attacks in the Israeli capital, and one was run over. More than 50 Palestinians were killed in October, many of them while attempting to perpetrate terrorist attacks. Other were shot by security forces near the border between Israel and Gaza during riots, in which protesters entered the no-go zone around the fence.

In September, Shin Bet documented 223 attacks.

Terrorist attacks by Jewish Israelis against Arabs were also documented in the report, which listed the torching of two Palestinian-owned vehicles and two stabbing attacks.

Of the attacks against Israelis documented, 11 happened near Gaza in October (compared to four the previous month), 485 occurred in the West Bank (151 in September) and 117 in Jerusalem (68 in September.) Seven attacks occurred inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders in October, whereas none were documented in September.

Remembering Noam

Staff Sgt. Noam Apter, age 23, died Friday night Dec. 27 as a hero in an attack on the Jewish settlement of Otniel. His picture was on the front page of every Israeli daily newspaper. His bravery reported on every newscast in Israel. His family’s mourning and loss have been a subject of conversation at dinner tables, office coolers, essentially all over Israel for the past week.

Yet, the story of Noam did not appear in the Los Angeles Times, or in most papers abroad. Not even his name appeared. Nor his age. Nor the names or ages of the other three victims brutally murdered in the Sabbath eve massacre at Otniel. He was just another one of "four Israelis killed in the West Bank."

To illustrate how one-sided the coverage of Israel has been, one needs to go no further than the Los Angeles Times. During the four days after Noam’s death, the Los Angeles Times reported extensively on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Seven major articles were published with a total of more than 7,000 words. Yet, no room could be found for Noam’s name or for the story of his bravery, nor for the story of his family’s loss. Is this because Noam was not a Palestinian?

It turns out that Palestinian stories, names and ages filled all of these seven Los Angeles Times articles over those four days. While not a single name of an Israeli victim was listed, nor the age of a single Israeli victim, the Los Angeles Times did find the room to list — by name — 17 Palestinians "victims" (some of whom were terrorists killed in gun battles with Israeli troops). The Times also found it appropriate to list the ages of a total of 20 different Palestinian "victims," while not a single Israeli receives the honor of being attributed with an age in this extensive reporting.

Lack of ages and names are only the beginning. Each Palestinian "victim" has a story — heart-rending, full of context, detail, local color and moving quotes. The Israeli victims are just statistics, without quotes, without a context, essentially without a story. This lack of balance might be explained if the numbers were unbalanced — so many more Palestinians dying than Israelis. Yet, in the Times reporting on Dec. 29, they noted that in the month of October more Israeli civilians were killed (45) than Palestinians (41). So why no names, no ages, no stories for the Israeli victims? Why don’t the Israeli unarmed civilians who are deliberately targeted by terrorists get at least the same journalistic treatment as the Palestinian civilians who are tragically and mistakenly killed in a tough war against terror that Israel must fight in populated areas?

One is left with the unmistakable conclusion that for the Los Angeles Times, Palestinian suffering deserves color and details, Jewish suffering is simply a set of statistics, faceless soldiers conducting "aggressive" anti-terrorist campaigns, and government officials rolling out routine condemnation of terror.

Yet our victims do have names, ages and stories. The story of Noam Apter will be told by Israelis for generations. Since you probably missed it, here it is:

On erev Shabbat, Dec. 27, more than 100 Israeli teenagers and young adults sat down for the Sabbath meal at the yeshiva Jewish school of Otniel. These kids are not "ultra-Orthodox," as erroneously reported in the Los Angeles Times, but modern Orthodox kids who study in yeshiva before and sometimes during their army service. Four of the students whose turn it was to be the evening’s waiters went to serve the main course in the kitchen adjoining the dining room. Noam Apter was among them. The other three waiters were: Yehuda Bamberger, 20; Zvi Ziman 18; and Gabriel Hoter, 17.

Suddenly, two terrorists dressed in Israeli army uniforms burst into the kitchen and sprayed the four waiters with fire from their M-16s. Hit by the bullets and mortally wounded, Noam used his last strength to run to the door connecting the kitchen and the dining room and close it. He locked it and threw the key into a corner. He then collapsed and died, lying against the door. The terrorists tried to open the door. Seeing it locked, they tried to spray fire through a small glass window into the dining room. After realizing that this fire was inaccurate and wild (it only wounded six more students) and having already killed the four student waiters, the terrorists fled the kitchen, later to be hunted down and killed by the Israeli army.

According to 18-year-old Yaacov Ohana, a wounded survivor of the attack who was quoted in the Israeli daily Ma’ariv, "Our great luck was that Noam succeeded in locking the door to the dining room and throwing the key into a dark corner, otherwise the terrorists would have massacred dozens."

Noam Apter was just another of the many heroes of the current war Israel is waging against terror. They all have names. They all have ages. And they all have stories. It’s about time they were told.

Jonathan Medved is a venture capitalist living in Jerusalem.