Information Minister Yuli Edelstein
Photo: Mati Elmaliach
The Fogel house after the massacre
Tamar Fogel (left) - 'Strong like her mother'
Photo: Gabi Newman, Samaria Regional Counci
IDF efforts to find terrorists continue
Photo: Reuters

Minister hopes images will shock world

Minister stands behind decision to publish explicit photos of terror attack aftermath, hoping to influence global public opinion. Meanwhile Fogel family mourns: Time to rise up beyond left, right, religious, and secular, says brother

The debate over the publication of pictures from the scene of the massacre in Itamar, which include explicit pictures of the murdered children's bodies, continues: Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein said Monday, "I want journalists and editorial staff to deal with those pictures." He added that the shocking pictures of the five murder victims may influence global public opinion.


The committee discussed Israel's information distribution issue in an era of social networks. At the center of the debate is the ministry's dilemma over whether to publish the heartrending photos of the bodies of the five victims – parents Ruthie and Udi and three of their six children – Yoav (11), Elad (4) and baby Hadas.


During the debate the minister explained why he believes the pictures should be published. "Let those who already have a fixed image of the conflict between the countries or the nations who can't seem to reach an agreement over a piece of land see the pictures of the three month old baby; maybe then they will understand that their image is distorted.


"We all hope and pray that we will never need to expose ourselves to these pictures, but if heaven forbid there are more events like these in the future – we will know how to handle it."


Explaining how he reached the decision to publish the photos the minister added: "I have often been asked why we are so sterile in the information we share. At some point the events accumulate and though we have personally been exposed to unmentionable horrors, everyone has that point that gets them.


"The decision wasn't an easy one, without the family's consent we would never have even considered the issue. The family said yes – under certain conditions."


Knesset member Nachman Shai (Kadima) also addressed the issue. "The pictures could have been released," he said. "But it seems that the decision derives from hysterical and quick decisions to situations, since there is no planning or consideration and since the government is dragged into things instead of initiating – both with the pictures and the decision to build.


"Israel has no policy, it just responds to events without deliberation or strategic planning. The pictures were forced on the government because they leaked out and the construction decision is causing global criticism which damages the affect of the terror attack."


Former Minister Isaac Herzog also disagreed with Edelstein's decision, saying it "weakens" Israel. "The decision to publish the photos broadcasts panic and leads to disrespect for the grief," he said. The fact that the photos are being published right after Israel announced the approval of more construction in the West Bank "creates confusion", he added.


'Children our greatest comfort'

Meanwhile, in spite of unimaginable pain and grief following the loss of five family members in one murderous and brutal strike, the Ben-Yishai home in Jerusalem was filled with restraint. Here, Ruthie's parents and siblings sit shiva (seven days of mourning) side by side with the Ruthie and Udi's children – Tamar, Roi and Yishai - the only survivors in the horrific weekend attack.


Family and friends come in a never-ending stream to pay their last respects to a very special family. Three of Ruthie's brothers told Ynet of dealing with the incomprehensible loss. "We were nine siblings, now after Ruthie's murder, three more siblings join our family, Ruthie and Udi's children," one of the brothers said.

Ruthie's brothers: Dealing with personal tragedy (Photo: Gil Yohanan) 


According to the siblings their mother will now be raising the three surviving orphans. "They are the sweetest children and being able to sit Shiva with them is our greatest comfort," said Hillel, one of the brothers.


He also described Tamar, the 12-year-old daughter who discovered her parents and siblings bodies, saying: "She's like her mother, very strong. Even when the prime minister came to visit us and spoke of the Israeli response to the attack, she knew what to answer. Like Ruthie, she's made of iron. She was exposed to the horror, and she spoke of it, but she gathers her strength from retelling how she discovered her brother Roy, who survived the attack. For any person that situation is intolerable, let alone a 12-year-old," he said.


Ruthie's brother Elichai requested to send out a message: "At this time the entire Israeli nation must rise up. At yesterday's funeral we got to witness how pain was a unifying force for the nation. Now we need to rise up beyond left and right, religious and secular. Obviously, this is a personal tragedy but it is also a national tragedy. They were murdered because they were Jewish."


2 Palestinian officers arrested

As for those responsible for the massacre, the search for the terrorists continued Monday morning, and Palestinian sources reported that two Palestinian Authority security officers have been arrested in the West Bank village of Awarta, near Itamar.


Palestinian news agencies reported that altogether 12 residents of the village have been arrested in connection with the attack, but the IDF refused to confirm the reports, saying only that efforts were in full swing and that Awarta has been declared a "closed military zone".


But settlers appeared to be carrying out their own brand of justice Monday as 'price tag policy' operations continued. Two vehicles were torched in a village north of Ramallah, according to witnesses, who say it occurred before daybreak. Police say no complaints have been filed.


A tractor and a private vehicle were also torched near Nablus, and in this case the owners filed complaints, according to police, who suspect settlers.


Omri Ephraim, Attila Somfalvi and Elior Levy contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 03.14.11, 14:11
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