Wednesday, December 31, 2014, 16:26 Approximately 300 people gathered in the afternoon
hours on Wednesday, December 31 at the site of Avi Ben-Tzion’s, Hy”d, murder at the Alon (Migdalim) Intersection in the Shomron for a memorial service marking 30 days since his murder. “The security forces were powerless to protect Avi, now they are abandoning him and us again,” said Niva, Ben-Tzion’s widow.
The memorial service was part of the family’s campaign to have the murder recognized as a nationalistically motivated terror attack. Honenu is assisting the family in their campaign. Family, friends and neighbors from the Jordan Valley, public figures and other supporters participated in the memorial service. Families who had suffered a cover-up of a loved-one’s murder also participated. Many of the participants wore shirts printed by the family with the campaign slogan and the name of the Facebook page started by the family: “Avi Ben-Tzion was murdered. The nationalistic motive will not be covered up.” After the memorial service a caravan of cars drove to the cemetery for the gravestone unveiling.
David Alhayani, Jordan Valley Regional Council Chairman and a friend of Avi’s,
gave the opening speech at the memorial service: “In this exact spot, 30 days ago Avi was murdered as he returned from the central region of Israel. They hit [his car] from behind without his noticing. With the honesty and modesty characteristic of him he got out to examine the damage. They say that he even shook the hand of the despicable murderer. How is it possible to say that they hit [his car] without his noticing? How is it possible to believe the testimony of the murderers? We have many questions for which we have no answer. Avi Ben-Tzion, ‘the man from the valley’, was murdered because he was a Jew. We will not accept any other determination, and we, all the residents of the valley as a family, gathered here in order to demand justice.”
Niva Ben-Tzion, Avi’s widow, said that this was the first time she returned to the site of the murder. “Avi was murdered on his way home and today we went the way that he did not complete and are bringing him home. As if it is not enough that Avi was cruelly taken from us, instead of mourning we must start a struggle [to ensure that the nationalistic motive for his murder is confirmed]. The security forces were powerless to protect him. Now they are abandoning him and us once again and giving his murderers what they wanted: criminal penalties and comfortable cells instead of them having to pay the full price. Our family, like other families who brought justice to light, does not intend to give up until the murderers receive their punishment.”
Niva added that, “Sarcastically one could say that in the State of Israel must know when to be murdered. Avi was murdered when the dispersal of the Knesset was decided and today, on the day of the memorial service, the Likud primaries are taking place so it is easy for the politicians to ignore [us] and to worry about their [Knesset] seats instead of paying attention to the murder. And those who did not pay attention to this murder also will not pay attention to the next murder, which will be, unfortunately, that of someone else’s husband, another father, another grandfather. Therefore I call on everyone here: help us in our campaign to prevent the cover-up so that tomorrow there will not be a repeat, G-d forbid, of this incident to someone dear to you.”
Miriam Arami, the mother of Netanel Arami, Hy”d, who was murdered by nationalistically motivated Arabs while at work in Petah Tikva, and was recognized as a victim of terror only after a campaign led by the family with the assistance of Honenu, came to express support for the family’s campaign. “We are going through very hard times and it is very difficult for me, but I had to come to strengthen Niva and her family. To our sorrow until it reaches your doorstep you don’t understand the genuine significance of what happens. At one time when I heard that there were terror attacks my heart ached but I went on with my day. And today I know that one must not go on with one’s day. This campaign is important not only to the Arami family or the Ben-Tzion family. It is important to all of us. To the entire public. I pray that no-one will have to endure what we are enduring. I hoped that Netanel would be the last victim but we were proven wrong. When it happens the sky falls and you don’t know what to do, and if it weren’t for Knesset Member [Moshe] Feiglin and Honenu I do not know what we would have done. I want to say to the family; ‘be strong and fight your fight. Do not back down and do not let them give you the feeling that you are criminals the way they did to us. Hold your ground until the end.’”
Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin said, “There is the story of Avi and the story of Netanel and the story of so many good Jews that reach me of people who were cruelly murdered only because they were Jews. And every place that the system can cover it up and say that it is a criminal attack or a traffic accident or who knows what, they do. The first step is always to cover-up and maintain the concept that we are undergoing a peace process and that our lives can continue. One must understand that there is a war in this land. It happens in the [Jordan] Valley, it happens in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem and everywhere even 20 years after the Oslo Accords. As Niva told me, Avi was murdered twice, once by Arabs from Akrava and a second time by the State [of Israel]. He was murdered because he was a Jew. He was not murdered because someone wanted his car. He was murdered because he is one of us. The same knife that cut Netanel’s, Hy”d, cables, the same terrorists did not target one man or another rather they targeted a Jew who could have been any one of us. When the State turns its back on the victim it separates him from the general public and leaves him neglected and isolated as if he does not belong to either society or the State. More and more incidents are indicating that this is the method being used.”
Yossi Dagan, the acting Shomron Regional Council Chairman, arrived at the memorial service and said afterwards, “This is not the first time that unfortunately we have encountered incidents of this type in this region. Not long ago, at the entrance to Revava, Rabbi Moshe Talbi, Hy”d, was murdered and then the system also said that it was a suicide, despite the many questions [which arose due to the finding at the scene of the crime]. It is clear to all that the murder of Avi Ben-Tzion, Hy”d, also raises most difficult questions. Anyone with a brain understands that car thieves do not voluntarily try to turn a theft into a murder and that someone who repeatedly drives over his victim intends to murder. It is obvious that this is a nationalistically motivated terror attack and we all demand that the matter is treated as a murder for all intents and purposes.”
Photos: One of the signs hung by the family throughout the Jordan Valley, Text on sign: Avi Ben-Tzion was murdered. The nationalistic motive will not be covered-up.
Memorial service for Avi Ben-Tzion, Hy”d