Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Arafat’s Jew

Aharon Granot, Vingaker, Sweden

The Palestinian mob was out for blood as they surrounded a group of IDF soldiers at the tomb of Yosef Hatzaddik. That was until Samach Kanaan stepped out of the shadows and extricated the Israelis from certain death. Nearly two decades later, Mishpacha tracked down Kanaan — confidant of archterrorist Yasser Arafat — in a remote Swedish village, to hear the shocking story of a Palestinian terrorist born to a Jewish mother, who paid a heavy price for the holy spark ignited at the most unexpected moment.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It was the night of the 13th of Tishrei, 1996.A new year had just begun, but the spirit of hope and change that usually accompanies those auspicious weeks had been replaced by anxiety and trepidation. Two days earlier, on the day after Yom Kippur, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had decided to open an exit from the Kosel Tunnels to the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City. The sensitive timing, the surprising nature of the decision, and, above all, the fact that the decision had been made by a newly elected, right-wing prime minister, galvanized the Palestinians, who spun the decision as a statement that Israel was claiming exclusive sovereignty over Jerusalem. The newly rehabilitated Palestinian Authority called for a general strike, and a wave of protests broke out throughout Judea and Samaria, with PA president Yasser Arafat calling for a violent response — leaving 17 soldiers and dozens of others dead, and hundreds wounded. Amid the violence, terror mobs ransacked Kever Yosef in Shechem, and — seeing that the Israeli soldiers were essentially helpless, with no backup reinforcements — hundreds more Palestinians flooded the area, out for blood and ready for a lynching. A number of Israeli soldiers, members of the Charuv battalion and the border guard, were under siege at the site. They were exhausted and despondent; their ammunition was slowly dwindling, and Palestinian gunfire was coming from every direction. “We have to stop it!” thundered Uzi Dayan, the local military commander — but security backup seemed impossible. How could they extricate close to 50 soldiers, some of them badly wounded, from the middle of a raging mob? “We were completely lost,” recalls Baruch Yedid, who was serving at the time as the Israeli contact officer for the area. “Some of the soldiers were wounded and needed emergency evacuation, but we had no way to reach them and get them out. We already knew that people had been killed, and we feared that the worst was about to happen. We were facing the possibility of losing 50 soldiers, and we didn’t know what to do.” “We were standing on a nearby hilltop,” recalls Yedioth Ahronoth reporter Roni Shaked, “and the sight was horrific. The soldiers, who were fighting like lions, were on the verge of being massacred.” And that was whenSamachKanaan — deputy toJibrilRajoub, strong-arm head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Force — arrived on the scene. He was a revolutionary with a terror prison record, but at that critical moment, he was more likeEliyahuHanavi, suddenly emerging from the shadows in a Palestinian ambulance that had driven into the center of the rioting. He stood amid the gunfire, between the bloodthirsty murderers and their intended victims, and motioned to the raging mob to stop firing.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Out with the Girls
Yonoson Rosenblum Another progressive revolution that eats its own
And I Will Glorify Him
Eytan Kobre Herman Wouk “made G-d a bestseller”
What You've Learned
Alexandra Fleksher Allow me to let you in on what school is all about
Going Broke
Mishpacha Readers Reader feedback for “The Kids Are Going to Camp..."
Top 5 Ways Jews Try to Lose Weight
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Gaining weight and talking about losing weight
He Soaked Up Our Pain
Rabbi Yaakov Klein A tribute to Reb Shlomo Cheshin ztz”l
Leaving on a High Note
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman And then it happened. I knew it would
Family Matters
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP Not the answers they teach in medical school
Play the Night Away
Riki Goldstein May we all share simchahs, no strings attached!
Fast Thinking
Faigy Peritzman How we react when we're exempt from a mitzvah
Baalat Teshuvah
Rachel Karasenti Don’t ask, “So how did you become frum?”
Confessions of a PhD Graduate
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When it comes to parenting, we’re always learning
Dear Favorite Little Sis
Anonymous I ended up wanting to be like you
Who's Making My Phone Calls?
Sara Eisemann Should I be upfront that I’m calling for myself?