Shfaram Victims Won't Be Recognized by Terror Law

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The victims of the terrorist attack in Shfaram and their families will receive a one-time compensation from the state, but will not be recognized as terror victims, an inter-ministerial committee headed by a Defense Ministry official decided yesterday.

The committee was appointed to determine whether to recognize those who were killed and wounded in the attack as terror victims under the law governing compensation for terror victims.

The law recognizes only victims of hostile acts perpetrated by "enemy forces" as terror victims. In Shfaram the murderer was a Jewish soldier, and therefore is not considered a member of enemy forces.

The committee has a mandate to deal with cases such as the terror attack in Shiloh on August 17, in which an Israeli citizen shot four Palestinians. The committee has dealt in the past with compensation claims of relatives of people who were killed and wounded in the October 2000 events, in which 13 Israeli Arabs were killed by the defense forces.

At the time, Arab Knesset members tried to change the terror victims law so that it recognizes people who were attacked by someone who is not recognized as an enemy force, but failed.

The families of the terror victims in Shfaram, where soldier Eden Natan Zada shot dead four civilians on August 4, were angered by the decision not to recognize them as terror victims.

They said the financial compensation is not their main interest.

"Even if they paid me a million dollars, nothing would bring my brother back," said Nazia Hayek, whose brother, Nader Hayek, was killed in the attack.

"It's a matter of principle. It should be a clear message to all the extremists, and perhaps serve as some kind of deterrence. But this decision tells us that according to the law, what happened in Shfaram is neither terror nor an act of hostility, but an incident in which there were fatalities and casualties, and the state would compensate them with a one-time sum.

"What kind of message does that convey to the public? Especially to those who think like Natan Zada? That it is permissible to kill Arabs and does not count as terror?" he said.

The Shfaram terror victims will receive a one-time sum based on the allowance they would have received had they been recognized as terror victims. People recognized as terror victims receive from NIS 2,100 to NIS 7,200 and widows and orphans receive from NIS 3,600 to 9,700 a month. In some cases, these sums - based on considerations of longevity and others - will reach millions of shekels.

Akbal Bahout, brother of Michel Bahout, the bus driver who was killed in the attack, was also angry.

"The compensation issue is important to the family, but not at the price of ignoring the principle of recognizing the event as a terror attack to all intents and purposes," he said.

"The prime minister said on the day of the attack that this was a terror act, and the cabinet and its institutions would do better to act in keeping with that statement rather than look for loopholes. According to the forms I've seen, my brother's death may be considered a work accident, and that is unacceptable. My brother was murdered by a Jewish terrorist," he said.

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