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For the bereaved families of Israeli terror victims, every day is Memorial Day

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In 1984, IDF soldier Moshe Tamam was kidnapped and murdered by Arab terrorists from a town near Haifa; A week before Yom HaZikaron the terrorist responsible has been released from prison leaving the Tamam family in shock

By ILANIT CHERNICK

For the Tamam family, every day is Yom HaZikaron – Israel’s memorial day.

On August 6, 1984, their uncle, brother and son, Moshe Tamam, was kidnapped, brutally tortured and later murdered by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorists from Baka al-Gharbiya, near Haifa, while traveling to the central Israeli moshav of Havatzelet Hasharon.

At the time of his murder, he was an IDF soldier, who deeply loved his family, his country and the beach.

But this year, Yom HaZikaron, which commemorates the thousands who sacrificed their lives for the Jewish state, has taken on a new meaning for the family. 

A week ago, just before Israel marks this painful day, the Tamam’s were informed that the terrorist who committed this heinous terrorist attack was released after serving over 35 years in an Israeli jail.

To make matters worse, the terrorist Rushdi Abu-Moch was given a hero’s welcome when he arrived back in the Israeli Arab village of Baka al-Gharbiya, which Tamam’s niece, Shai Tamam, explained is just 30 minutes away from where her family lives today.

“It’s been very stressful for us, the week leading up to this day is difficult enough and now to have this extra stress has been painful for my parents – especially my father – and grandparents,” she told IsraelNewsStand. “My grandmother still has nightmares about what this vile terrorist did to her son, and now to know he lives so close to us and that we can go anywhere – the beach, the mall, a restaurant – and that we can see him, is extremely hard for us.”

Shai also said that the family is deeply concerned about the fact that Abu-Moch will also continue to retain his Israeli citizenship.

“The fact that he will carry a blue ID card like you and me, and receive the same benefits is deeply painful and shocking for us,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense that this can be allowed – it’s inconceivable that an IDF killer, a terrorist, will be able to remain a citizen.”

The family, Shai added, is calling for Abu-Moch to be expelled. 

“This is not a political issue – not the Right, not the Left, not the Center – this is about a terrorist. How can any Israeli be happy about this?” she questioned.

Speaking about her uncle’s death, Shai explained that he was murdered after being kidnapped “from the Beit Lid junction by a squad of Israeli Arab terrorists who planned to transfer him to Syria, but when they lost contact with their operatives, he was tortured and killed in cold blood.” 

“My uncle’s murder has become an integral part of my identity, and I imagine that anyone who has experienced bereavement feels a feeling like mine, a powerful and painful feeling that is hard to describe in words,” she said.

For Shai, her uncle’s death has played an integral part in her identity. “I remember from a young age how every Yom HaZikaron, my friends at school would be taking part in a ceremony to mark the day while her mother and father would come and fetch her and they would go together to the cemetery.”
“This,” she said, “immediately set my siblings and I apart from everyone else.”

Shai added that it also gave a special meaning to her and her siblings when they served in the IDF and it encouraged her from a young age to want to serve Israel as a soldier.

Discussing how this year will be different in the wake of Abu-Moch’s release, she said that “this year we will arrive at the grave of my uncle Moshe, we will stand during the siren and sing the Israeli anthem “HaTikva” with a broken heart,” she said. “Just 30 minutes away, the vile terrorist will celebrate his return home to Baqa al-Gharbiya with his family – celebrating the return home of an IDF soldier killer.”

Concluding, Shai had a strong message for Israel on this important day: “Every day, we should remember the sacrifice that the IDF soldiers and terror victims made for us so that we can live here safely, it should not just be on Yom HaZikaron.”

Shai Tamam is a StandWithUs fellow at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev and through her work with StandWithUs has been bringing attention to her family’s plight about the release of her uncle’s murderer Rushdi Abu-Moch. May Moshe Tamam’s memory be a blessing always.

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