From Kol Ha’Eer
Bnai Brack, Israel
November 26, 2005
$250,000 Given to a Hospital in Memory of Daniel Pearl
By Rachel Klein
Bnai Brak — On January 23, 2002, Daniel Pearl (38) makes his way to an interview with someone he believes to be a fundamentalist leader. What did Pearl know of the dangers lurking his way? This we will never find out. Pearl was kidnapped by a group calling itself “the national movement for the restoration of Pakistani sovereignty’. The group claimed that Pearl was a spy and, through several emails, they sent the US a list of demands, including the release of all Pakistani prisoners that were captured during the American war against terror. An additional demand was the delivery of F-16 war planes to the Pakistani Government.
The email stated: “We will give you one more day, If America will not meet our demands we will kill Daniel. Then this cycle will continue and no American journalist could enter Pakistan.” Photos of Pearl in chains, holding a newspaper, a piston aimed at his head, were attached to the email. There was no reply to this demand. Six days later he was brutally murdered. His body was found later in a grave in the outskirts of Karachi.
In a video tape recording his last minutes, Pearl says: “My name is Daniel Pearl. I am a Jewish American. My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish. He subsequently states that he often visited Israel, and notes that in one of the towns in Israel there is a “Chayim Pearl Street,” named after his great grandfather, who was one of the founders of the town. The tape has several interruptions and, at the end, it records Pearl’s murder and mutilation.
This is a special day for our family
A few months ago, the “Mayney Hayeshua” Medical Center received an unusual phone call. The center was informed that a group was organized to donate a monitor-control system to its recovery rooms. The group asked that the gift be designated in memory of journalist Daniel Pearl (Z’L).
The Center officials say that this system improves significantly the quality of medical service given to patients undergoing surgery. Its cost is estimated at $250,000.
A dedication ceremony in the presence of the 17 donors took place last week in the “Mayney Hayeshua” Medical Center. The most emotional moment was when Daniel’s father, Professor Judea Pearl, who participated in the ceremony, addressed the donors with excitement and said: “This is a special day for our family. This is the greatest gift that Danny could have expected. It is a great privilege for him, who loved Israel and was murdered for being Jewish to have Jewish lives saved and sanctified due to his good friends and their donation to “Mayney Hayeshua” .
“Every Tragedy Brings Opportunities”
After the “Mayney Hayeshua” ceremony, we talked to Professor Judea Pearl and asked to hear details about his son Daniel (Z’L). “He was a walking sunshine… full of life…” Daniel’s father hesitates, takes a deep breath and continues, “there was no room that Danny entered which remained in the same color.”
Q. How was the decision made to raise the money for the Medical Center.A. It started with the publication of the book “I am Jewish”. (this book was edited by Judea Pearl and his wife, Ruth, inspired by the last words of Daniel Pearl). We asked approximately 300 scholars and public figures to contribute an essay in which each answers the question:
when you say “I am Jewish” what do you really mean? We received 147 answers, including from Rabbi Lau, Shimon Peres, community leaders in the US, Elie Wiesel, Rabbi Lamm, 5 Nobel Prize winners in various subjects and more.
We considered this book our gift to the Jewish people to encourage appreciation of Jewish heritage. The book was published last year and won the Best Jewish Book Award, and this is what prompted Dr Richard Gerber — a cardiologist from Northern California who cares about the future of the Jewish people, to undertake this project. Dr. Gerber called me one day and said: I heard that you are from Bnai Brak… he then asked me to come and a give a talk at a fund raising meeting in his home, where peoplewill be asked to contribute to the project.
Q. Do you remember the Grandfather? A. Sure. I remember how he was reading the Passover Haggada, the whole family around him, and how, when he reached “Were reclining in Bnai Brak” he always stopped for a minute, smiled, and continued, We knew what he was telling us: Here, we came home”
Q. Is there any message you wish to convey on this occasion” A. I would like to tell the residents of Bnai Brak: “Today you are on the map! At least 100 million people saw what happened to Danny through the various media outlets. I am not sure they understood what they saw, but they all heard the word “Bnai Braq”. It is important for the public here to know that you are on the map due to Danny’s tragedy. Every tragedy brings with it opportunities. by studying Danny’s tragedy you will learn to use it for the benefit of Am Israel.
Q. I assume that this event is like a dream comes true; are there other dreams? A. What has been accomplished today in Bnai Brak is a small part of what we are doing and planning to do. We have a foundation named after Daniel through which we plan to continue his work, because he and his personality became symbols of tolerance and humanity.
Ending our conversation, professor Pearl tells us that he has another dream, to see the book “I am Jewish” translated into Hebrew. [stated but not printed in the article] We are seeking an enlightened publisher in Israel who will recognize instantly the potential of this book to become both,a commercial success and an important instrument in solidifying Jewish identity among Israeli readers.