The three children of Ghassan Abu Jamal, one of the two Palestinians who carried out a deadly terror attack in a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood two weeks ago, have been denied health insurance.
According to Haaretz, the National Insurance Institute, the Israeli equivalent of US Social Security, terminated health insurance plans for his 6-, 4-, and 2-year-old children the day after Abu Jamal and his cousin Uday stormed the Jewish place of worship, killing Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky, Rabbi Kalman Levine, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg on the spot, as well as Zidan Saif, a policeman who was critically injured during a shooting exchange with the terrorists and later succumbed to his wounds.
The three children of Abu Jamal, who was killed by Israeli security forces during the attack, were all born in Jerusalem and live in the city’s Jabel Mukaber neighborhood.
Late last month, Interior Minister Gilad Erdan canceled the residency permit of Abu Jamal’s widow and stripped her of any financial or social benefits. Nadia Abu Jamal, a native of the West Bank, had been granted entry to Israel on the basis of the “family reunification law,” which allows for Palestinians to receive Israeli residency permits if they marry a permanent resident of Israel. Abu Jamal is set to be deported to Palestinian Authority-controlled territory, Channel 2 reported.
The denial of health insurance coverage for Abu Jamal’s children is reportedly unrelated to the deportation of their mother, as the National Insurance Institute apparently initiated the move without consulting other government officials.
The institute, on its part, emphasized that its step was not meant as punitive action against the Abu Jamal family, but rather that following the death of the father, the children’s residency permits had automatically expired due to the fact that their mother was not a permanent Israeli resident. However, according to the Hamoked Center for the Defence of the Individual, an Israeli human rights group, no other such cases have been recorded in the past, Haaretz reported.
Israel annexed what had been the Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem after capturing the area in 1967’s Six Day War and offered permanent residence status to its inhabitants. East Jerusalem residents generally have Israeli papers that enable them to travel freely about the city and enjoy the same social benefits offered to Israeli citizens.
A video published by an Israeli-Arab news site showed the mother of Uday Abu Jamal praising her son and his accomplice for his actions two days after the attack, according to an Israel-based media watchdog.
“You have placed a crown [upon my head] and a star upon my shoulders, O Ghassan and Uday, who carried out the operation, blessed be your hands and the tips of your fingers,” she says while reciting a poem in her mourning tent, according to a Palestinian Media Watch translation.
The moves by the NII and Erdan come on the heels of increased Israeli efforts to deter potential terrorists by stepping up action against the families of Palestinian operatives, including renewing the controversial practice of home demolitions.
Home demolition orders have already been issued to the families of three other East Jerusalem terrorists, while the Silwan home of Abdelrahman al-Shaludi was destroyed late in November. The 21-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem had rammed his car into Israeli pedestrians in October, killing 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and Karen Yemima Muscara, an Ecuadorean woman studying in the city, and was killed by security forces.
Erdan also recently revoked the permanent residency of an East Jerusalem man who drove a suicide bomber to his destination in 2001 to carry out a deadly attack that claimed the lives of 21 Israelis. At the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would pass a bill that would to the same to East Jerusalemites who incite against Israel.
The punitive measures have been condemned by the international community, with US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke saying the demolitions “are counterproductive in an already tense situation.”
“This is a practice I would remind that the Israeli government itself discontinued in the past, recognizing its effects,” he said.
Marissa Newsman and AFP contributed to this report.