Istanbul Bombing Victims’ Compensation Hangs on Investigation

YERUSHALAYIM -
A Turkish police officer stands guard in central Taksim square following a suicide bombing in a major shopping and tourist district in the central part of Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images)
A Turkish police officer stands guard in central Taksim square following a suicide bombing in a major shopping and tourist district in the central part of Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images)

Israel’s interest in determining whether its citizens were targeted in the recent Istanbul bombing is twofold: to inform its decision of how to respond to it in security terms; but also in order to decide whether the victims qualify for compensation under state law.

So far, the three Israelis killed and 11 injured have not been granted the special status awarded to other Israeli victims of terror, the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

“According to the ‘Victims of Hostilities’ Compensation Law, terror attacks that occur outside the state of Israel will only be recognized if their primary or secondary goal was to harm Israel,” the ministry said. In such cases, the victims receive special benefits from Israel’s tax authority and compensation from the social security system, as do the families of those who are killed.

Since the investigation into the bombing, in which Israeli and Turkish security officials are reportedly working together, has not concluded that Israelis were specifically targeted, the Israeli victims don’t qualify under the law. At least not yet. While it is known that Islamic State was behind the bombing, their actual target has not been confirmed.

However, treatment of the victims is more than a matter of dry legal distinctions. Israeli officials came in for sharp criticism from The Times of Israel for taking rhetorical advantage of the situation:

“[Defense Minister Moshe] Ya’alon and other politicians, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have cast the attack as identical in nature to the terrorism that has rocked Israel for decades.”

“The state of Israel is fighting terror that strives to harm its citizens, not only within its borders but everywhere,” Yaalon said shortly after the attack.

“That message, however, appears to be more rhetorical than practical,” the paper observed caustically, as the victims are not being compensated like other victims of hostilities against Israel.

Simha Dimri Hy”d, 59, Avraham Goldman Hy”d, 70, and Yonathan Suher Hy”d, 40, were killed in the bombing, along with an Iranian man.