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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1996.A new year had just begun, but the spirit of hope and change that usually accompanies those auspicious weeks had been replaced by anxiety and trepidation.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.

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