“A historic justice has been done,” declared Samar Haran on Sunday morning after learning of the assassination of Hezbollah leader Samir Kuntar, who murdered her husband and daughter in a terror attack in 1979.
Kuntar and three other terrorists infiltrated Israel on a rubber boat, coming ashore in Nahariya. They murdered policeman Eliyahu Shahar and then broke into the Haran family home, where they took father Danny and four-year-old daughter Einat hostage, while mother Smadar and two-year-old daughter Yael were hiding.
The terrorists took their hostages to the beach, where a firefight ensued with Israeli police, during which Kuntar shot Danny Haran to death, and then smashed Einat’s skull with the butt of his rifle, killing her too. Baby Yael suffocated to death while her mother tried to keep her from crying and revealing their hiding place.
Kuntar was freed in a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hezbollah in 2008, in return for the bodies of IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.
“The fact he was released by the state, and eventually assassinated by the state, shows that justice has been served. Especially in light of the fact that in the years since his release, he has returned to terror activity, plotting and operating against us,” Haran told.
She added that “it was really painful for me when he was released. I went through a difficult and very painful time. But on the other hand, it’s important to me to show that the family he attacked, from which only one survivor remained – this survivor has grown and bloomed. To me that is very Israeli and Zionist. And this city, the tiny Nahariya that he attacked, has turned into a prosperous city.”
Ronny Keren, Danny Haran’s brother, said he feels he finally has closure. “This is a small comfort, but it doesn’t detract from the pain one bit,” the brother told.
He says the reactions from the family have been that of satisfaction. “They said it’s about time. That each dog has its day. I hope this sends out a message: Those who murder Jews in the land of Israel and everywhere else in the world, will meet a similar end to Samir Kuntar and the murderers from Munich. This appears to be the only language they understand in the Middle East.”
“Samir Kuntar never expressed remorse for his actions, despite all the years that have passed,” he said. “We keep reliving the pain of the murder of my brother and his daughters. I’ve been waiting for this moment for seven years, since Kuntar was released. I’ve been waiting for this moment on two levels – on the personal level, and on the need to know that a task the IDF had to do, has been done.”
Yoram Shahar, whose brother, police officer Eliyahu Shahar, was also murdered in the 1979 terror attack, said this morning: “I had no doubt that Israel’s security forces would get to him. I knew he was living on borrowed time.”
Shahar lamented the fact that “a few other people who could share in our happiness, like my mother and brother and a lot of other family members, are no longer with us.”
Shahar was 16 years old when his brother was killed. “I heard the news on the radio. I was on the bus and heard a police officer was killed and right away I knew it was my brother,” he told.
Kuntar, he said, “ruined families. He ruined the Haran family, he ruined us. My mother died of sadness. His child never got to know him. Justice has been served.”
Shahar said he opposed the prisoner exchange deal that set Kuntar free. “I knew this release was a release to his death, a release in order to kill him. I knew he wouldn’t live, I never doubted it. Every murderer must know that this would be his end. Those who seek to harm us should remember this.”
Eliyahu Shahar’s daughter, Keren, was a baby when her father was murdered. “I have a lot of appreciation to the IDF. It’s important to mention that my father was the first security personnel to arrive at the scene to help. He wasn’t murdered ‘on the way’ (to the Haran family). He should be given the utmost respect.”