Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri on Thursday stripped four Yerushalayim Arabs of their residence status. The four are currently serving prison terms for various terror-related activities, but when they are released they will be required to take up residence in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas.
The four are guilty of carrying out terror attacks in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of the city in October. Three of the terrorists – Walid Fares Atrache, Muhammad Salah Abu-Kaf, and Abed Dawiat – participated in the rock throwing attack in which Alexander Levlovich, Hy”d, 64, was killed. On September 13, Levlovich’s vehicle was pummeled with rocks, and he lost control of his vehicle. He struck a pole and sustained critical injuries, from which he later died.
The fourth terrorist, Balal Abu Ghanem, shot and killed three people, Hy”d – Chaim Chaviv (78), Alon Gobberg (51), and Richard Lakin (76), who was critically injured and later died of his wounds – when he climbed onto a bus in Armon Hanatziv and opened fire. Along with an accomplice, he blocked the exits of the bus, ensuring that no one could get off. Sixteen people were also wounded in that attack.
Rabbi Deri employed a rarely-used rule that allows the Interior Minister to strip an individual of residency status in “extreme” cases. In a statement, Rabbi Deri said that these cases certainly fit that description. “The actions of these four justify this action,” he said. “Residency status entails a basic responsibility and loyalty. Residency status does not, and cannot, provide privileges alone.”
This is the first time that Israel has revoked a terrorist’s residency since the start of the current terror wave.
Although they are not Israeli citizens, Arab residents of Yerushalayim are generally able to travel anywhere in the country, and are eligible for all social and welfare benefits for which Israeli citizens are eligible.