Mother of brothers killed in terror attack slams crowdfunding campaign for Huwara
Esti Yaniv says initiative for Palestinian town where deadly shooting and retaliatory rioting occurred is helping ‘people who handed out baklavas after the murder of my children’
The mother of two young brothers killed in a terror attack this week has criticized a crowdfunding campaign seeking donations for Huwara, the village where the shooting occurred, after rampaging settlers set fire to numerous cars and buildings in response.
Labor party member Yaya Fink launched the online crowdfunding campaign the morning after Sunday night’s riot in which a 37-year-old Palestinian man was killed, some 300 were wounded — four of them seriously — and dozens of buildings and vehicles were torched.
The riot came hours after the brothers, Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19, were killed in a terror shooting in Huwara. Their killer has not yet been caught.
“I get up every morning looking out at the village of murderers Huwara, where the murderer of my sons is walking around,” Esti Yaniv said in a video posted online Thursday. “The village of murderers, where treats were handed out [to celebrate the murder].”
She said she was “horrified” by the crowdfunding effort, “a backward campaign for the people who handed out baklavas after the murder of my children.”
“Faced with this campaign of darkness, we’ve come with a campaign to bring light,” she added.
Speaking to Channel 12 in response, Fink said he serves “50 days of reserve duty a year” in which he fights Palestinian terror.
“I still think, even if I’ll be the last one to say it, that we need to fight terrorists and eliminate them, but there are innocents among Palestinians, and those who burn down their homes and burn innocents have forgotten their humanity and forgotten how to be Jewish,” he said.
As of Thursday evening, 11,152 donors had given a combined NIS 1,664,602 (over $454,500) to Fink’s campaign, which he launched with an original goal of $27,275.
“It’s only a small deed, but as the Jewish proverb goes, ‘A little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness,’” Fink told The Times of Israel in a Monday interview.
Fink said he was driven to act after seeing the “horrifying” footage from the rampage, which showed yarmulke-wearing Jewish perpetrators gathering for an evening prayer quorum in front of Huwara buildings engulfed in flames.
“As a religious Jew myself… I felt that I could not be silent under such circumstances,” Fink said. “They’re creating a warped new Judaism and bearing the name of the true one in vain.”
Asked how he planned to transfer the money to Huwara residents, Fink said he was getting in touch with community leaders in Huwara using former Israeli security officials as conduits and speculated that it would take roughly three weeks to identify the exact families whose homes and businesses were vandalized. Background checks will also be conducted to ensure that none of the money reaches Palestinians with a history of security offenses.
Hundreds of Israelis sent him threatening messages for launching the initiative, but Fink said the thousands who decided to donate offered “a bit of optimism amid a difficult period when the news is filled with extremists, the terrorists and the arsonists.”