Late in the afternoon of Sunday, March 31, 2002, which this year was both the fourth day of Passover and on Easter Sunday, an explosion rocked Efrat, my wife, typing away yet another e-mail to one of many corresponding women from the world over, looked around the living room to see that the children were OK, and resumed her correspondence, including the “boom” in her closing graph.

Elchanon, our almost sixteen year old son who helps me in every aspect of my work, ran to the scene of the blast, cell phone in hand, stood on a hill overlooking the evacuation of the wounded so that he could report to me at the press center in Jerusalem. From where our office was able to place the story on the wire services, and to his brother Noam, now soldier on the Lebanese front.

Elchanon’s first words said it all. This attack was different from all the other attack. This time, an Arab blew himself up at the emergency mobile medical unit that dispatched a medic to treat him.

As the terrorist blew himself up, the medic that came out to treat him, Assaf Perlman, was riddled with shrapnel, sustaining injuries in his head and chest. Assaf is fighting for his life. Assaf is the same medic who risked his live under fire at the Joseph Tomb compound in October 2000 to try to save the life of a Druze Israeli soldier, Mamduch Yusef, who wound up bleeding to death in Assaf’s arms. Five other paramedics were also hurt, including Elchanon’s tenth grade classmate, Netanel, whose parents, from Moshe and Debbie, are old friends of mine who went to graduate school with me in New York 25 years ago and who, like us, settled in Efrat.

After many threats, this attack was clearly aimed against Efrat’s policy of providing medical services for the two Arab villages that are contiguous to Efrat. As a matter of policy, the Rabbi of Efrat, Shlomo Riskin, raised substantial funds from liberal Jews for medical clinics and schools in these nearby Arab villages a policy that earned the wrath of Arafat’s Palestinian Authority.

Rabbi Riskin made such a policy decision in the spirit of the Torah states 36 times that which a non-Jew who lives at peace with you in the land of Israel must be treated with dignity, respect and service.

In Januray, Last month, without warning, Channel One of Moscow filmed the Arab villages near Efrat, expecting to hear stories about the “Israeli occupation” and tensions between the small Arab village and the 16 expanding Israeli Jewish settlements of Efrat and the Etzion Bloc. The Russian TV crew heard the opposite message only praise for the people of Efrat and the Etzion bloc, and seething anger against Arafat and the “PLO occupation” of their fellow Palestinian Arab brethren in the Bethlehem region.

Family after family in these Arab villages told Russian TV that they were getting the best medical treatment possible from their friends in Efrat, while their families in Bethlehem had to bribe officials just to get the basics of treatment from the PA. They also spoke with pride about the school that Efrat had built for them

All this was aired on Russian TV Channel One very recently.

It would seem that the PA was watching. The clear purpose of the attack was to disrupt a proper relationship between a Jewish city and an Arab village.

Despite the threats to their lives from Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, the people of Efrat’s nearby Arab villages gathered in an emergency town meeting to issue a statement that denounced the attack in the strongest of terms. It surprised nobody in the villages that Arafat’s police force took credit for the attacks.


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.