Aaron Ellis, 32, the son of U.S. tourists from Chicago who have been residing in Israel, was one of six people murdered in a shooting attack at a bat mitzvahs celebration in Hadera on January 18, 2002. Fatah’s Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack.
Aaron left behind seven siblings, as well as his wife, young son, and five children from a previous marriage whom he was supporting.
To advance his career as a singer, he had recently learned Russian so that he could perform before Russian-speaking audiences.
Avi Boaz, 72, of New York, was kidnapped and shot to death by Fatah members near Bethlehem on January 15, 2002, after showing the kidnappers his American passport.
Boaz had close business relationships with a number of Palestinian Arabs, and had journeyed to Bethlehem in connection with a business project.
Boaz’s wife died of cancer just ten days before he was murdered.
The Israeli government announced on April 9, 2002, that two of the terrorists holed up in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, Ibrahim Abyat and Ismail Hamdan, were involved in the murder of Avi Boaz.
Shoshana Ben-Yishai, 16, of Queens, NY, was one of two teenagers murdered in a Palestinian Arab shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem on November 4, 2001. According to the Israeli government, Islamic Jihad carried out the attack.
Shoshana was born in Mineola, Long Island. Although her family moved from Queens to Israel in 1989, they frequently returned to the U.S. to visit relatives in White Plains, New York. She was riding the bus home from school, a half-read copy of Harry Potter in her backpack, when the attack occurred. It was one day before she was due to have her braces removed.
Sarah Blaustein, age 53, a dual American-Israeli citizen from Lawrence, New York, was killed in a drive-by shooting by Palestinian Arab terrorists near Efat, on May 29, 2001.
Friends described Sarah as “a woman of inner beauty, dedicated to her family and to Torah study.” “When you came here you truly came home and you lived your dream to its fullest,” said Rabbi Shlomo Riskin at her funeral. He noted her special devotion to Jewish holy sites, and the fact that she had paid her weekly visit to the Tomb of Rachel on the morning of her death.
Jacob “Koby” Mandell, a 13 year-old who grew up in Silver Springs, Maryland, was murdered along with his friend Yosef Ishran, by Palestinian Arab terrorists near their hometown of Tekoah, south of Jerusalem, on May 9, 2001.
“He was just a kid with a Yankees cap,” his mother said. “A regular kid, a wonderful brother, so loving.” Koby’s younger brother Daniel recalled: “Koby was not just my brother. He was also my best friend. Sometimes we fought, but we were always friends afterwards.” “Koby was a sweet kid, a funny kid, a spiritual kid who lived Israel and Torah,” recalled a family friend, Rabbi Irving Breitowitz. “When we contemplate how such a good kid never had a chance to become the great adult he was meant to be, it tears at the heart.”
Rabbi Hillel Lieberman, age 36, from Brooklyn, NY, was murdered on October 8, 2000 by Palestinian Arab terrorists while he was trying to rescue Torah scrolls from the burning Tomb of Joseph near Shechem (Nablus).
Rabbi Lieberman, a second cousin of U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, attended the Yeshiva of Flatbush and Yeshiva University, in New York, before settling in Israel, where he married and raised a family. He studied and gave Torah classes at the Tomb of Joseph, to which he felt a deep spiritual connection. When a Druse Muslim Israeli soldier died defending the site against Arab attackers, Hillel traveled through dangerous regions to pay a condolence visit to the family.
Dov Dribben, a 28 year-old American-Israeli farmer, was murdered by a group of Palestinian Arab terrorists near the town of Maon on April 19, 1998. He left behind a wife and four small children. Dribben’s family had moved to Israel from New York some years ago.
Dov was a shy, peaceful farmer who raised horses on a ranch in the barren hills south of biblical Hebron. It was there, near his ranch and the wide-open land that he and his family loved so dearly, that Palestinian Arab terrorists ambushed and murdered him.
One member of Arafat’s Fatah movement, Issa Debavseh, was arrested last year for his role in the Dribben murder. The other members of the group who killed Dribben remain at large.
Yael Botwin, age 14, a dual American-Israeli citizen from California, was one of four people killed in the September 4, 1997 bombing on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.
Yael was born in Claremont, a suburb of Los Angeles, and attend the Gan Shira kindergarten at Temple Shalom in nearby Ontario, CA. Shortly after the family moved to Jerusalem, Yael’s father died of a sudden heart attack.
Yael was enrolled in an art school in central Jerusalem, and was on her way to purchase art supplies when the bombers struck.
Friends described Yael as a warm and kind hearted young woman whose inner strength had helped her siblings cope with the tragic loss of their father.
Mrs. Leah Stern, a grandmother who was a dual American-Israeli citizen from Passaic, New Jersey, was murdered in the July 30, 1997 bombing of Mahane Yehuda marketplace in Jerusalem.
Mrs. Stern, a Holocaust survivor, emigrated to the United States after the war and raised a family in New Jersey. Many years later, after her children had grown and after her husband’s passing, she fulfilled a lifelong dream by moving to Jerusalem.
The Israeli government has identified Talal al-Baz and Bashir Daher as having helped prepare the Mahane Yehuda bombing. They were detained by the PA police, but released in January 1999.
Yaron Ungar, 25, an American-Israeli school teacher, was killed in a drive by shooting by Palestinian Arab terrorists near Beit Shemesh, on June 9, 1996. Both Yaron, a schoolteacher who was born in New York, and his wife, Efrat, were killed in the shooting. They left two children, ages 4 and 5.
A February 2002 State Department report named Ibrahim Gheneimat a suspect in the case. He resides in Palestinian Authority controlled territory.
On September 17, 1997, Israel asked the PA to extradite Ghneimat, but the PA ignored the request.
A second fugitive suspect in the case is Salah Talachmeh, the director of the cell to which Gheinmat belongs. Both Talachmeh and Ghneimat were named as accomplices in the videotaped confessions of other members of the cell.
David Boim, age 17, a dual American-Israeli citizen from New York, was killed in a drive by shooting by Palestinian Arab terrorists near Beit El, north of Jerusalem on May 13, 1996.
David was born and raised on New York City’s Lower East Side. The family moved to Jerusalem in 1986, and David enrolled at the Beit El Yeshiva High School. His classmates there remembered him as “an excellent student and a friend to all.” They said he “especially tried to befriend students who came from overseas, whom he knew from experience had a rough time of it.”
The Israeli government identified Islamic Jihad member Imjad Hinawi as a suspect and on September 17, 1997, Israel asked the PA to extradite Hinawi; the PA ignored the request.