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Family of Palestinian Youth Who Murdered an Israeli Father of Two the Latest to Benefit From the PA’s Pay-for-Slay Program

As 35 members of Congress write a letter slamming Israel’s treatment of underage terrorists

Liel Leibovitz
July 31, 2018
Relatives and friends mourn during the funeral of Yotam Ovadia at a Jerusalem cemetery, on July 27, 2018.GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images
Relatives and friends mourn during the funeral of Yotam Ovadia at a Jerusalem cemetery, on July 27, 2018.GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images

Last Friday, Yotam Ovadia wanted to do something nice for his wife. Cooking a surprise romantic dinner, he thought, would be a wonderful way to spend Shabbat. He bought all the ingredients, and stored them at his parents’ house nearby. Then, in the evening, he told his wife, Tal, that he was going out for a bit and will return soon.

He never did. Walking in the streets of his community, he ran into Muhammad Tarek Dar Yusuf, a 17-year-old Palestinian from a nearby village. Yusuf wrestled Ovadia to the ground, and then, producing a long knife, stabbed him in the head, the heart, the neck, and the lungs. Passersby managed to shoot and kill Yusuf, but Tal, running out, saw her husband and realized he wasn’t going to make it. He passed away a short while later.

But while Ovadia’s family mourns, Yusuf’s has cause to celebrate. According to Palestinian Media Watch, the Palestinian Authority’s official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, declared Yusuf a martyr, a designation that comes with a hefty financial reward: Yusuf’s family will receive a one-time bonus of $1,643, followed by a monthly salary for life of $383, more than half the average Palestinian’s salary. According to the PA’s ghoulish pay-for-slay program, had Yusuf been successful in his quest to kill more Jews on his rampage, he would’ve earned his family more money, as Mahmoud Abbas’ government incentivizes murder by increasing the financial compensation to the families of terrorists for each Jew slaughtered.

Had Yusuf been captured and imprisoned rather than shot and killed, he might’ve taken comfort in a letter signed by 35 members of Congress and sent late last week to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Beginning with a call “to promote the protection and proper treatment of children on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the letter—spearheaded by Representatives Jan Schakowsky, David Price, Steve Cohen, and John Yarmuth, all Democrats—soon hits its real target, taking issue with Israel’s detention of minors like Yusuf who have attempted or perpetrated deadly attacks against civilians. “We encourage the State Department to stress the importance of ensuring proper treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli detention,” read the letter, “and address this matter in the Department’s next report on global human rights.”

One hope that the letter’s signatories take similar interest in Yotam Ovadia’s two orphans, aged 3 and 7 months. They were visited yesterday by the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a rare visit by a senior-ranking American diplomat to Jewish families of terror victims residing in Judea and Samaria.

“My heart was broken upon seeing the tragic consequence of the killing of Yotam Ovadia,” Friedman said after his shiva call. “A young mother left alone to care for two toddlers, parents mourning their only son. There are no words that can describe the evil and barbarity of this act of terror.”

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.

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