Aug. 31, 2005 – Arab victims of last monthâ€™s terrorist attack on a bus in northern Israel will not be eligible for the same compensation as Jewish victims of Palestinian attacks because the perpetrator â€“ a Jewish Israeli soldier â€“ was not considered a member of a group hostile to the state of Israel.
Eden Natan-Zada, who was AWOL at the time but wearing his IDF uniform, opened fire on a bus in the city of Shfaram with his army-issued rifle, killing four Israeli Arabs and wounding twelve.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemned the August 4 attacker as "a bloodthirsty terrorist who sought to harm innocent Israeli civilians."
According to Israelâ€™s 1950 Families of Soldiers Who Fell in Battle Law, victims and their families can receive compensation and rehabilitation from "terrorist" attacks if the attacks are carried out by an organization that is "hostile" to the state of Israel. Even though Sharon announced that the National Insurance Institute would compensate Natan-Zadaâ€™s victims under this law, it turns out they are not technically eligible.
Natan-Zada was a follower of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, the American-born extremist and former Israeli parliamentarian who advocated the expulsion of Palestinians from "Greater Israel." Kahanist groups have been outlawed from running political candidates by Israel, and one was deemed a "terrorist" organization by the US State Department. They are not, however, considered by the Israeli government as organizations hostile to the Jewish state, and therefore victims of Kahane followers are not, under current interpretations of the law, eligible for compensation.
Instead, according to the Israeli daily Haâ€™aretz, a special panel was convened to determine compensation for the Shfaram attack victims "beyond the letter of the law." They will receive a one-time payment, which will be less than the amount Israeli victims of comparable attacks by Palestinians are eligible to receive.