Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
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.”
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.
Comments are closed.
Golani brigade commander was hospitalized after being wounded, but he returned to the battlefield to complete the mission.
The Ruderman Family Foundation rewards Jewish organizations for promoting inclusion of those with disabilities.
We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.
Ban ki-Moon and John Kerry might have some credibility if they would talk peace with terrorists in Syria.
“Like all mothers of soldiers, I pray that this ends peacefully, that all the boys come home safe-and-sound,” Ruthie says.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said Tuesday that he respects the legitimacy of Israel’s right to defend itself, but also called on Israel to limit its reaction to ongoing Hamas rocket fire at Israeli civilians. According to a report on the Hebrew-language Ynet website, Mr Ban also said his organization rejected the terror gang’s […]
Left-wing Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday that no ceasefire is imminent between Israel and Hamas, and added that the current military operation in the Gaza Strip was “unavoidable.” Speaking to Army Radio, Livni said there is no substance to Palestinian reports earlier in the day that Israel and the terrorists were considering an additional […]
Six IDF soldiers wounded in Gaza have showed significant improvement at Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva, Israel Radio reported. Three soldiers have been downgraded from “serious” condition to “moderate,” and three additional soldiers are now listed as “lightly injured.” One hundred fourteen soldiers are currently hospitalised as the result of the fighting.
Leading US paper interviews Hamas leader, shocked to ‘discover’ interview takes place in civilian hospital.
PM meets wounded soldiers at Ashkelon hospital, tells foreign diplomats they have moral obligation to support Israel.
As of this writing, Code Red rocket alerts were sounded in the following locations Tuesday: 10:28 pm Be’er Sheva Shoval, Rahat and surrounds 9:56 pm Be’er Sheva, Hatzerim, Tifrach, Meitar and surrounds 9:17 pm Lod, Yavneh, Kiryat Akron, Gedera, Ramle, Gan Yavneh, Kfar Bilu, Ashdod, Kiryat Malachi 9:00 pm Bat Yam, Rishon L’Tsion, Rechovot, Modi’in, Macabim […]
Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni said Tuesday that the funeral of Jordan Ben-Simon, a lone IDF soldier killed in Gaza yesterday, would be limited to 300 attendees due to the threat of rocket attacks. Following the outpouring of support for lone soldiers yesterday, when more than 20,000 people created a mass funeral for lone soldier Sean Carmeli, […]
Teenage member of MK Zoabi’s clan making name for self as pre-eminent Arab supporter of Israel.
Army finally forced to admit soldier is missing; efforts continue to identify seventh body from Sunday night attack.
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.
“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.
The kosher section at Winn-Dixie’s Boca Raton store is larger than that of many kosher-only supermarkets.
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: