Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, fills the same role for Walla, the leading portal in Israel. He is also a guest commentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs on television. Until 2012, he was a reporter and commentator on Arab affairs for the Haaretz newspaper. He also lectures on modern Palestinian history at Tel Aviv University, and is currently writing a script for an action-drama series for the Israeli satellite Television "YES." Born in Jerusalem, he graduated cum laude from Ben Gurion University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and then earned his M.A. from Tel Aviv University on the same subject, also cum laude. A fluent Arabic speaker, Avi was the Middle East Affairs correspondent for Israeli Public Radio covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and the Arab countries between the years 2003-2006. Avi directed and edited short documentary films on Israeli television programs dealing with the Middle East. In 2002 he won the "best reporter" award for the "Israel Radio” for his coverage of the second intifada. In 2004, together with Amos Harel, he wrote "The Seventh War - How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians." A year later the book won an award from the Institute for Strategic Studies for containing the best research on security affairs in Israel. In 2008, Issacharoff and Harel published their second book, entitled "34 Days - The Story of the Second Lebanon War," which won the same prize.
The scene of the killing of an IDF soldier, at Beit Amin near Qalqilya on Saturday (photo credit: Channel 2 screenshot)
The father of a Palestinian man who confessed to kidnapping and killing an unarmed IDF soldier in the West Bank over the weekend expressed shock and disgust over his son’s actions Sunday, saying he would kill his offspring if he could.
“I am telling you this from the bottom of my heart… if the military would today give me an M-16 [assault rifle], I would go and shoot my son in the head,” Abdullah Amar told The Times of Israel.
The murder took place in the Palestinian village of Beit Amin, where Nidal Amar, who admitted killing Sgt. Tomer Hazan, and his family reside. On Saturday, Amar, 42, was apprehended by Israeli security forces who were searching for Hazan. Amar admitted to luring the Bat Yam native to the village on Friday before killing him as part of a plan to use his body as a bargaining chip for his brother’s release from an Israeli jail.
The Amar family compound is only about 40 meters away from the West Bank security barrier and the outermost houses of the Sha’arei Tikva settlement. Nidal Amar murdered Hazan, 20, in a field nearby, and then threw his body into a well.
The killer’s father, Abdullah Amar, shaken and distraught, made it clear that he did not support his son’s actions.
“I and all my family, from the youngest to the eldest, condemn the murder of a man who came here without a weapon,” he said Sunday.
“I could never imagine that Nidal would cause harm to anyone,” Amar continued. “But the Israeli government and the Israeli public should know that, if he did commit such a crime, he should pay for it as required by law.”
“He killed a man for no reason,” added Abdullah Amar.
Over the past couple of years, Abdullah explained, he’d had only limited contact with his son, who worked illegally at a restaurant in Bat Yam where Hazan was also employed part-time.
Nidal Amar (photo credit: Israel Security Agency spokesperson/Flash90)
“Once every month or two, he would arrive here for a half-hour, maybe a little more. Sometimes he stayed the night and that’s it,” he related. “I did not know where exactly he worked, I did not know what he was doing. He has a wife and eight children in Jaljulia and has been there for 17 years.”
Seven of Nidal’s brothers were arrested along with him Saturday.
Though he continued to firmly denounce his son, Abdullah pleaded that the Israeli authorities allow his other children to return home.
“I want to punish him and anyone who knew of his plans, but please release all those who are not connected to the murder,” he said.
Archive footage: Nur al-Din Amar, brother of Nidal Amar, flashes a victory sign at the camera. (photo credit: screen capture/Channel 2)
According to Shin Bet operatives, Nidal confessed to intending to trade Hazan’s body for the release of another brother, Nur al-Din, a member of the Fatah Tanzim terror group, who has been serving time in an Israeli jail since 2003 for his role in several terror attacks, including planning a suicide bombing by a female bomber that was thwarted.
Abdullah Amar recounted the impact Nur al-Din’s arrest had on the family, and said Nidal was not thinking clearly if he believed his actions would better his family’s condition, or speed up his brother’s release.
“Nidal’s brother went to jail 11 years ago. He [Nidal] saw how much suffering it caused, and now he thinks he can kidnap and kill an Israeli soldier, and liberate his brother? That is the thought of a child, not a 42-year-old adult.” Abdullah Amar said.
The father went on to assert that his son’s actions were cowardly, and breached both Islamic and Jewish law: “This contradicts the Torah and the Koran; it is immoral.”
“This is no act of heroism,” Abdullah Amar added. “If an Israeli kills an unarmed Palestinian, would we call him a hero? And if a Palestinian who murdered an Israeli citizen was killed, would we say he’s a hero? I see nothing heroic about this.”