By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com
In the last election, there was great controversy concerning orthodox Jewish publications refusing to publish photos of Hillary Clinton.
Indeed, in a story run by the Pri.org, Beni Rabinovich, a staff writer at the Israeli Yated Neeman was quoted as saying that publishing pictures of Clinton just isn’t done at his daily.
“If we write about Clinton and Trump, it’s much easier to run a picture of Trump,” Rabinovich says.
Some orthodox publications, nonetheless, ran her picture.
However, no publication – even the one you are reading now, is running the picture of Ann Van Zanten. And you can read why in a few paragraphs.
Ann Van Zanten was murdered 38 years ago in Paris, France by terrorists, and one of the terrorists – after all of these years was just arrested in Norway.
On Aug. 9, 1982, two Palestinian terrorists, Nizar Tawfiq Mussa Hamada and Walid Abdulrahman Abu Zayed along with others, planned and implemented a terrorist attack in the Jewish section of Paris.
They fired submachine guns and threw hand grenades at the Jo Goldenberg restaurant in Paris. Six people were murdered. There were wounded.
David and Ann Van Zanten of Evanston, Illinois, were sitting near the window of Goldenberg’s restaurant that Monday – when the murderers tossed a grenade through a window.
The terrorists’ machine-gun fire hit Mrs. Van Zanten, 30 years of age, in the back, killing her instantly.
Her husband, David, 38, was shot in the shoulder.
His three year old daughter Clara Van Zanten ( now Boyle) was not with them at the time of the murder – she was with other relatives for the day.
“Clara’s what I have,” David Van Zanten said the next day, crying softly as he caressed his 3-year-old daughter’s hair. “She’s all I’ve got now.”
Mrs. Van Zanten was one of two Americans killed in that attack, which left four others dead and 22 wounded. Another American, Grace Cutler, 66, of Skokie, Illinois was also murdered that day. The newspapers will not be running her picture either.
The Van Zantens were in Paris doing research for a book on architecture. In fact, they visited Paris every summer, combining work and pleasure. Mrs. Van Zanten, was a curator of architectural collections at the Chicago Historical Society. She had published a number of works in collaboration with her husband.
“Unfortunately, we were the two closest to the door,” Van Zanten said. “The hand grenade landed directly behind us. She fell toward the door and I fell the other way..After the grenade explosion there seemed to be a short silence, then the machine gun bursts. A lot of wine bottles were broken, we were lying in the wine. Somewhere along the way I was shot in the shoulder.”
When the firing finally ended, Van Zanten said he ran to his wife, dragged her to the door and started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
“But she was dead. As dead as anything I’d ever seen. If it had been anyone other than myself holding her, I wouldn’t have believed it. As far as I can see they shot her in the back.’
The reason why no one is running Ann Van Zanten’s picture is that they cannot find one. And the reason that they cannot find one is because of apathy. There is not even a picture of her on the Internet.
And that is why no picture of Ann Van Zanten is published. There are also no articles about her. How very sad.
As Stephen M. Flatow points out – very few people have even heard of her name, and no one seems to care enough to extradite her murderers. Mr Flatow is an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.
So what happened to the terrorists?
Mr. Flatow points out that Hamada and Abu Zayed escaped.
U.S. law permits capturing foreign terrorists who have killed Americans and bringing them to the United States for trial and punishment.
Mr. Flatow points out that the “U.S. government has never shown any interest in capturing the murderers of Grace and Ann. Hamada and Abu Zayed are not even included in the State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” program, which offers rewards for information leading to the capture of killers of Americans abroad.
In March 2015, France revealed that Hamada and Abu Zayed were living in Norway, and that two other terrorists connected to the attack, Mahmoud Khader Abed and Zuhair al-Abbasi, were living in the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, respectively.
To protect al-Abbasi, the Jordanians “arrested” him and then quickly released him on bail.
That year, the Obama administration gave the Palestinian Authority $500 million in aid. Yet it never demanded that the P.A. hand over Abed.”
The United States currently gives Jordan $1.5 billion annually.
Yet, Mr. Flatow points out, “it has never demanded that Jordan hand over al-Abbasi. Nor does it demand extradition in the similar case of Ahmed Tamimi, who was involved in the murder of Malki Roth in the Sbarro restaurant bombing on Aug. 9, 2001 in Jerusalem during the lunch hour, killing 15 civilians, including seven children and a pregnant woman, and wounding 130.”
Another victim of that bombing was Shoshana Greenbaum (nee Hayman) h”yd. She was a bas bayis by this author’s home. She was a remarkable teacher who inspired hundreds of her students at HALB. Indeed, this author dedicated a sefer, entitled Zichron Shoshana about the laws of Mezuzah in her memory.
The Tzemach Tzedek writes in a responsum that it is our responsibility to seek justice for murders. He writes that we must do so even to the extent of bribing government individuals to ensure that cases are investigated and pursued.
So what happened recently?
The French asked Norway to surrender Abu Zayed, but the Norwegians have thus far refused to do so.
But we can make a difference here. How so?
Mr. Flatow points out that the United States does more than $12 billion in trade annually with Norway.
We must convince our government officials that the murderers of Grace and Ann are important. We must ask them to encourage our government to demand that Norway surrender the terrorists. They are American citizens that were murdered.
In recent weeks, the French were able to obtain additional information about Abu Zayed and renewed their request to extradite him. Abu Zayed is in Norwegian custody while they consider the French extradition request.
Mr. Flatow points out that the Norwegians may well decide one again to reject France’s demand. Politically or financially, the French may not have sufficient clout to force Norway’s hand. But America is the most powerful country in the world. Norway cannot refuse a serious U.S. demand to hand him over. Nor can Jordan refuse a serious American demand to surrender al-Abbasi.
The United States can also capture the other terrorist as well. Mahmoud Khader Abed, resides in Ramallah.
Let’s do this. Let’s fulfill the words of the holy Tzemach Tzedek (Siman kuf). Let’s start a letter-writing campaign writing our government officials. This issue is far more important than not running pictures of Hillary Clinton.
Is Mr. Stephen Flatow the only one who cares about this Tzemach Tzedek? Where are the rest of us? It is a halacha – yes a halacha.
We can all do something. If anyone has any connections to politicians – from either side – let’s step up. Agudah? The OU? Let’s do this.