Palestinian shooter was named after grandfather killed by Jewish settler

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  January 28, 2023

Haim Ferelman, who killed the grandfather of Khairy Alqam, was released despite killing four Palestinians.

The grandfather of the Palestinian man who killed seven people in Jerusalem on Friday was murdered by an Jewish settler, who was later controversially acquitted of the crime. 

Khairy Alqam shot and killed seven people outside a building used as a synagogue in the Jewish settlement of Neve Yaakov in East Jerusalem.

Alqam fled the scene before the police caught up with him. Israeli police said a gunfight ensued that killed the 21-year-old Palestinian. 

The incident comes amid a flare up of violence between Israelis and Palestinians after the Israeli army killed nine Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp on Thursday.

Originally from the Al-Tur neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, Alqam was named after his grandfather, who was killed by a Jewish settler 25 years ago.

Haim Ferelman, killed 51-year-old Khairy Alqam and three other Palestinian men in 1998. 

Ferelman, described by the Israeli media at the time as a “Jewish terrorist”, was charged with murder. 

But an Israeli magistrate court in 2010 controversially ruled to release Ferelman on house arrest after being imprisoned for the murder of Alqam and three other Palestinians. 

The court ruling courted controversy as Israeli intelligence said Ferelman was planning to kill seven other Palestinians.

But the judge ignored these concerns and testimony from a Palestinian witness who identified Ferelman as the person who tried to kill him and the other Palestinians. 

The court subsequently allowed Ferelman to go under house arrest in the Jewish settlement of Tkoa, where he continues to live freely. 

Ferelman was member of the Kach movement which was founded by the far right extremist rabbi Meir Kahane. He later joined the extremist group Kahane Chai which means “Kahane Lives,” founded by Meir Kahane’s son Binyamin following his father’s assassination in the United States. 

Both groups are designated terrorist organizations by Israel, Canada, Japan, and formerly the European Union, and the United States.

The current Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir was also active in the Kach movement. He recently attended the memorial service for Kahane and reportedly said: “I had the privilege of studying his writings and lessons”.

Both Ben Gvir and Ferelman were close and seen in a joint video dated back to 2010 talking to the media celebrating his release.

In the video, Ben Gvir said: “There were many who used terms such as the Jewish terrorist; today we all know he (Ferelman) is surely a Jew, but it is clear for everyone he is not a terrorist.”.