web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Home » News & Views

Devorah Halberstam: From Bereaved Mother To Counterterrorism Authority

The imprudence of the designation ultimately led to Halberstam’s triumph: Under public pressure, the FBI assigned an agent in May 1999 to review the case, and in December 2000 the agency officially conceded that the shooting indeed had been an act of terrorism.

But Halberstam’s campaign was not over.

She kept pushing for the investigation of unfollowed leads, arguing that counterterrorism required a different approach to law enforcement. In June 2000, New York’s then governor, George Pataki, appointed her to serve on the state’s first Commission on Terrorism. For Halberstam, the idea wasn’t just to make sure that those who aided Baz were punished – though it was that, too. Hers was a campaign to have authorities deal differently with terrorist crimes, to scrutinize the milieu from which terrorists came, map their networks and monitor their associates.

“Now we can clearly see that it was part of a whole pattern of terrorist activity that keeps repeating itself,” former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said in 2009 of the Halberstam shooting.

“In a way, the attacks of 9/11 have really validated her position and given her increased credibility,” Kelly said of Halberstam. “Her stressing this issue before 9/11 was important, but clearly the horrific events of 9/11 really galvanized the law enforcement community, and she’s been a player in it.”

Halberstam’s own public profile changed in tandem with the new prioritization of counterterrorism. In 2009, in a sign of how dramatically Halberstam had gone from victim to authority, she received a community leadership award from the office of the FBI director, which hailed her as a “vital asset in our fight against terrorism.”

Over the years, Halberstam also found validation of some of her suspicions in Ari’s case.

In 2007, Baz in a confession corroborated Halberstam’s longtime contention that his real target had been the Lubavitcher rebbe. Last year, the Palestinian uncle who Halberstam long had claimed provided Baz with the weapons he used in the shooting was arrested for allegedly being part of a multistate cigarette-smuggling ring with terrorist ties.

Today, Halberstam isn’t only concerned with terrorism. She organizes meetings in Crown Heights to help tamp down tensions between blacks and Jews and continues to raise money for the Jewish Children’s Museum, where many of her community encounter programs take place. And she spends time, when she can, with her grandchildren, three of whom are named for Ari.

What drives her to do all this, Halberstam says, isn’t just justice. It’s about trying to make sure other mothers don’t have to endure the loss and pain that was thrust upon her 20 years ago and remains with her every day.

“I feel like I have an obligation to my child,” she said. “Somebody else stole his life. And I don’t think just somebody else; it’s a system that was in place. And I believe no matter how long it will take, I will not stop.

“It’s like breaking up a gang, and we have to fight this. I don’t know if I’ll see it in my lifetime, but I sure as hell am going to continue doing it until the day I die, as long as I live on this earth.”

(JTA)

About the Author: Uriel Heilman is managing editor of JTA. An award-winning journalist, he has worked in a variety of positions for publications in the United States and in Israel, including as New York bureau chief of the Jerusalem Post.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Devorah Halberstam: From Bereaved Mother To Counterterrorism Authority”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Jan. 20, 2014.
Canada’s Harper Govt to Introduce Anti-Terror Legislation by Weekend
Latest News Stories
An orthodox travel agent helped  saved the life of a Jew by convincing him not to violate the Shabbat by boarding the Malaysian flight that went missing.

ISIS-linked cyber terrorists promoting a ‘Cyber Caliphate’ were busy early Monday hacking the website of Malaysia Airlines.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Jan. 20, 2014.

Canada’s Conservative government is set to consider new anti-terror legislation by the end of this week, following some nations in Europe.

Old City of Jerusalem

The Old City of Jerusalem is made up of multiple cultures living side by side, in various degrees of conflict and cooperation.

An Israeli soldier prays at an IDF staging area near the Israeli border with Gaza, on July 31, 2014.

IDF soldiers were dragged to missionary evening of ‘appreciation’ for soldiers who fought in Operation Protective Edge last summer in Gaza.

Israeli President Ruvy Rivlin met in New York with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

For the first time in five years, Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror government allows Israeli imports.

The northeastern United States is gearing up for what may be one of the biggest blizzards in the past half century.

If US Jews were to make Aliyah at the rate the Jewish Agency expects from France, Israel would have 1 million more Jews.

Iran allegedly is plotting to assassinate the sons of the current and former Israeli prime ministers.

The White House is passing up the opportunity for Obama’s first meeting with the new Israeli president.

Northern Israel is on a high tension wire. The IDF temporarily closed roads Sunday because of a reported “security incident.”

Jewish journalist Damian Pachter has arrived in Israel from Argentina via Uruguay, having fled for his life.

President Abbas has been genuinely committed against violence – John Kerry, March 3, 2014 at AIPAC conference.

Prior to Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Bibi talked about the dangers of Iran, ISIS and anti-Semitism and the importance of Aliyah.

It appears the bomb was thrown or placed there yesterday but didn’t explode.

The Histadrut national labor union has warned that Israelis may have to travel without Egged buses on Monday unless company management satisfies employees and drivers’ demands on salaries and work conditions. As things stand now, late Sunday afternoon, Egged workers will stage a one-day warning strike Monday following what they say is a failure of […]

More Articles from Uriel Heilman
U.S. President Barack Obama.

How do some of the other issues Obama discussed in his 2013 U.N. General Assembly speech look through today’s lens?

Gazan terrorist with a rocket.

How is it that the journalists aren’t able to get any images of Palestinians fighting the Israelis?

Despite some limited success, after every conflagration Hamas has managed to re-arm and improve its rocket capacity, as evident in the rocket range on display in this round of fighting.

Over the years, the ADL has been criticized for overstating what qualifies as anti-Semitism, with critics suggesting that some of the statements used to measure bias actually are more indicative of admiration for Jews than anti-Jewish hostility.

“Last year we took the $10,000 from him,” Jay Sanderson, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, told JTA. “We’re not going to take it anymore.”

“More than the Jews have kept the Shabbos (Sabbath), the Shabbos has kept the Jews.”

The battle over partnership minyans is just the latest scuffle in the war over women’s roles in the Orthodox community.

Last week, a man who tried to build a pipe bomb for use in New York, Jose Pimentel, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on terrorism charges under laws Halberstam helped draft.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/devorah-halberstam-from-bereaved-mother-to-counterterrorism-authority/2014/02/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: