Victim’s widow begs public not to ‘kill him’ again for driving terrorists unawares
The widow of one of the victims of the deadly terror attack in Elad last week on Sunday begged the public to not “kill him again” after it was revealed that her late husband unwittingly drove the terrorists to the scene of the attack.
Security officials have said As’ad Yousef As’ad al-Rifa’i and Subhi Emad Subhi Abu Shqeir, who carried out the deadly knife and axe attack, were driven by Oren Ben Yiftah, a 35-year-old driver from Lod, from the West Bank security barrier, where they are believed to have sneaked into Israel, to Elad.
Upon arriving, according to a statement from a security agency on condition of anonymity, the two attacked Ben Yiftah and killed him. From there, they headed up Ibn Gvirol Street, where they killed Elad residents Yonatan Havakuk and Boaz Gol.
All three victims were fathers in their 30s or 40s who left behind a combined 16 children.
“My husband Oren was a dear and beloved man, a man of peace, of unity,” his wife Nofar said in a video on Sunday.
“I turn to you keyboard warriors and call on you to show me a little compassion, to the widow, to my six children, to the family — we are broken and shattered. All Oren did was work as a shuttle driver and drive people. Oren is the victim of a terrorist attack. Do not kill him a second time.”
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) May 8, 2022
A similar call was made by Ben Yiftah’s family on Saturday, when they said it was horrified by the hate directed at him for driving the Palestinian terrorists unawares.
“People of Israel, have pity on us during this trying time,” they wrote. “Let us grieve in these days of mourning without concerning ourselves with the need to defend against despicable attacks.”
They added: “How much hatred can come out when people’s fingers run freely on the keyboard.
“We are appalled by the discourse on social media and in the media in a vile attempt to link our beloved son Oren to the despicable attack he himself was a victim of.”
They said that Ben Yiftah “worked as an honest, innocent driver. Just as a taxi driver doesn’t check who gets into the taxi, Oren was not required to check permits for work or entry.”
According to Hebrew-language media reports, Ben Yiftah did not know the pair were in Israel illegally. He had transported them at least 10 times in the past to work in the ultra-Orthodox city, and was unaware of their attack plans.
On Saturday, Channel 12 news reported that the two killers telephoned Ben Yiftah on Thursday and told him they needed a ride to Elad for work. They said they were doing urgent renovations at the synagogue on Yehuda Hanassi Street in Elad. When they got close to the synagogue, they attacked him with an axe and a knife, the report said. He fought back, but they overpowered him and killed him.
Though technically illegal, a number of Israeli drivers work transporting Palestinian day laborers who sneak in from the West Bank to job sites around the country.
Authorities believe al-Rifa’i and Abu Shqeir had worked in Elad before and were familiar with the area.
The suspects had no history of terror activity or affiliation with terror groups, Army Radio reported.
Breaches in the West Bank security barrier used by workers have been utilized by terrorists responsible for a number of attacks inside Israel in recent weeks, leading to vows from defense officials that the gaps will be repaired and the wall better guarded. Several of the attackers have originated in the northern West Bank, leading the army to concentrate efforts near there.