Terror victim’s widow: Don’t release murderer’s body

Terrorist’s family petitions court to allow a burial. Wife of the victim says it will destroy deterrence.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The widow of a man murdered by a Palestinian terrorist almost two years ago will go to court to speak against the petition of the terrorist’s family to have his body returned for burial, Israel Hayom reported Sunday.

“My greatest fear is that the High Court of Justice will accept the request and release the body, so that the family can give him a funeral of a shahid [martyr], like the day of Yotam’s murder, when they gave out candies in Ramallah and shot off fireworks,” Tal Ovadia told the Hebrew daily.

She will go to the courtroom and request to be allowed to address the judges.

“If I get to speak, I’ll say everything that’s in my heart, and beg that they not release his body,” she said. “The minute they release the body, deterrence will disappear. Future terrorists will see that it pays to carry out attacks.”

Learning of the court date on Thursday from a friend who was also widowed in a terror attack, she said it felt like getting “a knife in the belly,” and that “it brought me back a year and nine months” to the attack.

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Thirty-one-year old Yotam Ovadia was on his way to his parents’ house in the village of Adam on July 26, 2018, when a 17-year-old Palestinian leaped at him with a knife. The decorated Border Police veteran grappled with the infiltrator, but the terrorist knifed him several times, killing him. By fighting him, Yotam was credited with saving the lives of other potential victims.

The terrorist also seriously wounded a 58-year-old man and lightly injured Adam resident Assaf Raviv, who eventually shot and killed him.

Ovadia left behind two young sons, a two-year-old and a seven-month-old. The terrorist “destroyed a family,” his widow said. “He left small children who are growing up without a father, who need psychological treatment. I’m doing everything I can to help them, but nothing can help without their father. No matter how much I give them and try not to have them lack for anything, a father is a father.”

Yotam was also the breadwinner of the family. A memorial fund that was set up to help Tal raise the two children raised some $56,000, far short of its $250,000 goal.

A month after the attack, the IDF demolished the terrorist’s home in the village of Kobar.