Israeli group raises NIS 174,000 for Duma attack survivor

Israeli group raises NIS 174,000 for Duma attack survivor

Tag Meir anti-racism organization launches crowdfunding campaign for Ahmed Dawabsha, 4, quickly surpasses initial goal

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Five-year-old Ahmed Dawabsha lies in his hospital bed at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, August 24, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)
Five-year-old Ahmed Dawabsha lies in his hospital bed at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, August 24, 2015. (Eric Cortellessa/Times of Israel)

As of early Sunday afternoon, an Israeli crowdfunding drive has succeeded in raising over NIS 174,000 ($45,000) to support Ahmed Dawabsha, a Palestinian boy seriously injured on July 31 in a firebombing attack that killed his parents and little brother.

The anti-racism group Tag Meir launched the fundraiser on Wednesday on the Headstart website with an initial goal of NIS 80,000 ($20,000), but exceeded that sum within 24 hours. Organizers wrote on the project’s web page that they have now raised the bar to NIS 240,000 ($62,100), to be reached by early October.

The Molotov cocktail attack, in the northern West Bank village of Duma, killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha. His father, Saad, and mother, Riham, succumbed to severe burns the following week and in early September, respectively. Four-year-old Ahmed, who is still hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center near Ramat Gan with burns over much of his body, is the sole surviving member of his immediate family. His grandfather, Hussein Dawabsha, has assumed responsibility for his care.

Israeli authorities have said they are convinced that the attack was carried out by Jewish Israeli extremists.

Gadi Gvaryahu, chairman of Tag Meir, wrote on his Facebook page that the rapid response should also be seen as a grassroots protest against attacks by right-wing Jewish extremists.

Saad and Riham Dawabsha, with baby Ali. (Channel 2 screenshot)
Saad and Riham Dawabsha, with baby Ali. (Channel 2 screenshot)

He said contributors to the campaign were notifying the Israeli government that they were “fed up” with the extremist “criminal gang known as ‘price tag,’ which acts in the name of Judaism and under its guise uproots olive trees, torches places of worship, damages property, and, more than anything else, hurts innocent Arabs and even kills in cold blood.”

The campaign’s Headstart page said the primary goals of the project were to pay for Ahmed’s treatment and rehabilitation, to assist his grandfather, to provide funds for education and assistance for Ahmed’s future, and to obtain state housing and support for the Dawabshas.

But, it said, the “no less important” message of the campaign — aimed at Ahmed Dawabsha and his family, as well as others — was that “Israeli Judaism’s way is one of pleasantness and mutual respect, not extremism and zealotry.”

Among those listed as having contributed to the fund were Israel Prize-winning philosopher and ethicist Asa Kasher and singer-songwriter David Broza.

Last week, a senior IDF officer said there was “no doubt” as to who was behind the attack on the Dawabshas. “There is no doubt in the defense establishment about the fact that the perpetrators of the attack were Jews,” the official said in a briefing to reporters.

The attack shocked many in Israel, prompting leaders from across the political spectrum, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, to issue condemnations.

Meanwhile, the government ordered a crackdown on suspected Jewish extremists, and the security cabinet, composed of the cabinet’s most senior ministers, took the step of granting Israel’s security agencies the power to hold Israeli terror suspects without charges, a measure used regularly against Palestinians but rarely against Israeli citizens.

Beyond the publicly available details, such as the Hebrew graffiti found at the site of the attack, the details of the investigation are classified. But the IDF officer’s comments echo those of cabinet ministers and others who have firsthand access to evidence.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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