Israelis claim slain US journalist as their own
JERUSALEM- Israelis claimed murdered American journalist Daniel Pearl as one of their own on Sunday, amid revelations that his parents were Israelis and that he said on videotape that he was a Jew just before he was killed.
Israeli newspapers published interviews with Pearl’s grandmother in Tel Aviv and his father in the United States, alongside commentary focusing on the Wall Street Journal reporter’s Israeli connection and Jewish lineage.
Israel considers anyone with at least one Israeli parent to be a citizen. Pearl’s mother and father left Israel some 40 years ago and settled in the United States.
His father, Yehuda, was quoted by Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper as saying his 38-year-old son – who had visited the Jewish state but never lived there – considered himself an American, not an Israeli.
“His parents were Israeli but he was not Israeli. He came to Israel a few times to be with his grandmother and take part in celebrations,” the slain reporter’s grandmother, Tova Pearl, said.
“And even if he had been an Israeli, it’s also not a crime for which he needed to die.” Tova Pearl declined comment when contacted the news source.
Her grandson disappeared last month in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, as he tried to contact religious groups.
Kidnappers styling themselves the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty first accused the journalist of spying for the CIA and later said he had been working for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.
Israeli officials dismissed the claims Pearl was a spy as “complete rubbish”. The Wall Street Journal also denied them.
Pakistani officials have said that in a videotape showing Pearl’s murder the reporter said he was a Jew and that his father was a Jew just before he was killed.
Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israeli branch of the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said it made his “skin crawl to think because a person is born a Jew, it makes him a candidate to be executed”.
“The obvious thing that comes to mind when the same thing happened was during the Holocaust,” he said, referring to the Nazi slaughter of more than six million Jews in the 1940s.
Source: Business Recorder