The son of an Arab man murdered by suspected Jewish terrorist Haim Pearlman told Ynet Thursday about the emotional turmoil he’s currently going through.
"It was like he was murdered all over again," said Samer Alkam, whose father, Kheiri, was murdered 12 years ago. "I heard about it yesterday, along with my brothers, that they caught dad's murderer.”
Speaking with Ynet, the son related the difficult emotions. "Yesterday they called me and told me to turn on the news. It felt bad, I almost fell and someone caught me. I was so angry. I left the house, got away, sat down alone, and returned at 1 am. I didn't want my children to see me and get angry as well," he said.
Pearlman is suspected of murdering four Palestinians and attempting to murder another seven. His arrest was remanded on Wednesday, and the court rejected his appeal against the decision to ban him from meeting with his legal counsel.
Kheiri Alkam, a resident of the Jerusalem neighborhood of a-Tor, was a construction worker. He was the first victim in a line of murders ascribed to Pearlman. In the early hours of May 13, 1998, he was attacked by an unknown person yielding a large knife. He was stabbed several times all over his body, and the assailant fled. Alkam was 51 at the time of death.
Samer, who lost his father at the age of 21, said that to this day the wounds have not healed. "Today I look at my children, who do not know their grandfather. My father is dead. He is gone, and no one can bring him back, so I don't feel better now that the murderer has been caught.
"I understand he was 17 when he murdered him, a kid. If I would see him today, I would tell him two things – I wish you end up in jail and leave your home and your family. You murdered someone your father's age, how did you have the heart to raise a hand on him? It's best that I don't see him. My sister was a year old when her father was murdered; she never even got to know him. I hope he sits in jail and his daughter doesn't get to know him."
Amran Alkam, Kheiri's nephew, spoke of his late uncle: "There never was and there never will be another like him, and I am not just saying that because he was my uncle. If you would speak badly about others with him, he would say, 'Shut your mouth, this is not interesting.' He would not speak badly about anyone. He was a quiet man who provided for his children. I was not able to work today, I kept thinking about him."
Amran is upset with the many years it took to catch the killer. "If it was a Jew who was murdered, he would have been caught within days. Because it was an Arab, they didn't care. He should have been caught within 24 hours, not 12 years. Where was the government, and where were the police?" he wondered, "But what good is this now? The man is dead – may he rest in peace.
"I understand that the murderer was a Torah student, he studied in a yeshiva, a religious man. How could he not know that it is wrong to kill a person? Whether it’s a Jew or an Arab, how can a person kill another person? These people are fools. Now we are considering whether to sue him and the State."
Muhammad Alkam, Kheiri's cousin, said, "Thank God they caught him, but this won't help us now. It's good to know who did it, and that everyone understands that both Jews and Arabs can cause trouble. We are all human. I was 18 when he was murdered. We were very close and the pain was great. He was the kind of person that would only say good things, he was polite, the most laid-back and nicest one in the family. A gentle person. For us, this story ended back then, not today. I hope the murderer is punished and dies in jail, let him stay there forever. If he were to be freed, he would only continue stirring trouble."