Birmajer’s brother killed in Israel


Orthodox rabbi become latest victim of Palestinian stabbing spree
Reuben Eduardo Birmajer, a 45-year-old Argentine rabbi, died yesterday in an Israeli hospital after he was seriously injured in a stabbing spree carried out by two Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The terrorist attack began at 1.15 pm on a popular walkway, when the assailants began stabbing pedestrians.They managed to seriously injure Birmajer and two other victims before they were shot dead by Israeli security forces.
Birmajer was the father of seven children, and the brother of well-known Argentine writer Marcelo Birmajer. He was a professor at the prestigious Israeli religious school Aish HaTorah, located in front of the Wailing Wall.
Birmajer died an hour after the attack in the Hadasa Ein Karem hospital centre, where the other victims were taken as well.
“Three injured people were evacuated, two were stabbed multiple times and a third received gunshots, that appeared to be from the police that neutralized the terrorists,” said police spokesman Luba Samri.
The stabbings were part of a wave of violence that began almost three months ago.
“Despite the extraordinary efforts used to try to save the victim, he passed away,” the hospital said in a press release.
The Director General of Aish HaTorah, Steven Burg, explained on his Facebook page that Birmajer was attacked when he was returning to his house in the ultraorthodox neighbourhood of Kiryat Yearim after work. “He had spent the morning teaching the Torah (Sacred Jewish text) and he was assassinated when leaving the Old City, via the Jaffa door,” Burg wrote.
Birmajer was in charge of the Spanish programme of Aish HaTorah, a zionist institution that promotes trips for young Jews around the world to Israel. According to Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, Birmajer was born into a secular Jewish family, but in his youth he converted to orthodox Judaism, emigrated to Israel and was ordained a rabbi.
Birmajer was scheduled to be buried yesterday night in a cemetery in Jerusalem.
“A big hug and my solidarity with @birmajer (the rabbi’s brother). The murder of his brother Eduardo in Israel was a heavy loss” tweeted Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj yesterday.
The DAIA and AMIA Jewish community associations, and the Israeli Embassy in Argentina expressed their condolences over Birmajer’s death.
“The DAIA firmly condemns this abominable crime against a defenceless citizen, which happens daily in Israel, but this time took the life of a spiritual leader belonging to the Argentine Jewish community,” it stated. The AMIA called for peace and dialogue as the only path toward overcoming difference and conflicts.
Argentine Ambassador to Israel Carlos Faustino García, said that they were waiting for more details over how the rabbi died. “No matter how it happened, it is tragic and sad. As always we express our solidarity with the victim’s relatives,” he said.
The Israeli Embassy highlighted that over the last few months dozens of Israeli citizens have been the target of indiscriminate attacks, and said that it accompanied the family relatives and friends of the victims in this painful moment.
This is the fourth time this month that an attack occurred in or near the vicinity of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Since the wave of violence began more than half a year ago, 122 Palestine and 21 israelis, one Eritrean immigrant and now an Argentine citizen have died.
The Palestinian attackers that died were identified as 20-year-old Issa Assaf and 21-year-old Anan Abu Habsa, two youths from the Qalandia refugee camp, created by the United Nations in 1949 to receive thousands of Palestinians escaping the territory that is now part of Israel.
The refugee camp, located in Israeli territory since 1967, is between Jerusalem and Ramallah, and has been the centre of deadly conflict in the past few weeks.
Last week, two Palestinians died after an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation entered at midnight to arrest people allegedly linked to attacks against Israeli citizens and colonies in the Western Occupied territories. Habsa had been temporarily in an Israeli jail in 2010 after the IDF accused him of trying to kill a soldier with a knife. Assaf also had been arrested this year and was accused of being linked to the wave of violence that has plagued Jerusalem in the past few months.
Herald staff with AP

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