Monday, December 04, 2017

04-Dec-17: After Thursday night's murder-by-stabbing, two arrests - and a transplant

The murder victim, aged 19
A young Israeli man, barely out of high school and serving in his country's military so so many of his peers, was murdered on Thursday night around 9:30 pm outside the shopping mall in Arad, a desert city of about 25,000 inhabitants. (As out of the way as it is, Arad is where Israel's most celebrated novelist, Amos Oz, lives.) He was evidently heading home for the weekend.

His name is Sgt. Ron Yitzhak Kokia and he was 19. He served in the Nahal Brigade, an infantry unit whose base is located near Arad. The funeral took place on Sunday.

It was announced today (Monday) that two men are being held in connection with the killing. Haaretz says
Two Israeli Bedouins were arrested Monday for their role in the lethal stabbing of an Israeli soldier in what Israeli officials say was terror attack in southern Israel last week... The soldier was waiting at a bus station adjacent to a local mall at the time of the incident. The Shin Bet security service said Monday that the assessment is that it was a terror attack and the two had planned the stabbing in advance. They are not affiliated with any group and were not known to have ties to terrorist groups or ideologies.
Ron Kokia is brought to burial in the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery
in the suburbs of Tel Aviv [Image Source]
Times of Israel adds:
The assailants stole the soldier’s gun and fled the scene, prompting a widespread manhunt across southern Israel. Two suspects from southern Israel were arrested a day later, but the information was not immediately cleared for publication. On Monday, that gag order was partially removed. According to the Shin Bet, one of the suspects admitted during an interrogation to murdering Kokia. “He even led Shin Bet investigators to retrieve the soldier’s gun,” the service said in a statement. Beyond saying that the stabbing had a “nationalistic motive,” the Shin Bet would not comment on a specific trigger for the attack. Suspects often cite a recent event or incident involving a family member or friend when confessing to a terror charge. “The interrogation of the suspects is ongoing,” the Shin Bet said... The soldier was waiting for a ride near a mall in the southern city at approximately 9:30 p.m. when he was attacked. When medics arrived at the scene, they found him in critical condition, unconscious and without a pulse, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service... His family donated his organs, Army Radio reported.
It's worth pausing for a moment to absorb that last point. In another place, Ron's father Boaz Kukia is quoted saying: "Our whole family has an ADI donation card [indicating willingness to have organs removed for transplanting into others after the donor's death] and saving lives is a supreme value". The nobleness of spirit that allows people to speak that way as they bury a child is a wondrous thing.
External view of Arad's shopping mall [Image Source]
And Associated Press (via the New York Times) gives this context:
The Shin Bet would not identify them [the men who were arrested] Monday, but Israeli media reported they were likely Arab Bedouins from the southern Negev desert... Since September 2015, Palestinians have killed more than 50 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British tourist in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks. 
There's more about how Israel's ADI card system works here. It's operated by Israel's National Transplant Center, established by the Ministry of Health in 1994 to be the authorized and independent body for managing and coordinating organ donation and transplantation in Israel. The ADI website says more than a thousand adults and children and adults in Israel currently need a transplant; some 700 are waiting for a kidney transplant, about 150 for a liver transplant, about 70 for a lung transplant, about 120 for a heart transplant:
Only 250 people on the waiting list will have the chance of a transplant in the course of the next year and about 100 will die waiting. And each year, hundreds of new patients join the waiting list.
We saw a report that the murdered young man's corneas have already been given to a transplant recipient.

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