Naharayim, aka “Isle of Peace,” is also the site of a deadly terror attack that claimed the lives of seven 13- and 14-year old Israeli girls.
By United with Israel Staff
Naharayim and Tsofar, two pieces of agricultural land adjacent to the Israel-Jordanian border, were returned to Jordanian control November 10 after King Abdullah’s recent decision not to renew a 25-year lease signed as part of the 1994 peace treaty between the two countries.
Naharayim, also known as the “Isle of Peace,” includes a memorial, established by members of kibbutz Ashdot Ya’akov, to commemorate the massacre of seven Israeli schoolgirls at the site. A request has now been made to move the flower garden memorial.
On March 13, 1997, a class of 13- and 14-year-olds from the AMIT Fuerst Zionist junior high school in Beit Shemesh visited the site. Jordanian soldier Ahmed Daqamseh opened fire on the girls, murdering seven and wounding six others.
The memorial consists of seven mounds of dirt surrounded by grass, one for each victim with her name written in flowers. There is a board with a quote from Psalm 1:3 that reads, “And he will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, which brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaves will not wither.”
Each year, families and friends have been gathering in Naharayim in memory of the girls, but “now, with Jordan’s refusal to extend the lease, many are concerned, and the families of the terror victims have appealed to the political echelon to move the memorial onto Israeli land,” according to a statement released by the Beit Shemesh municipality.
Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch, together with the families of the murdered girls, sent an appeal to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s office asking for assistance in getting the memorial transferred to an alternative location under Israeli control. The President’s Office confirmed that it has made the request and is in contact with the relevant security forces to promote the transfer.
“State officials are optimistic that the memorial will eventually be transferred to Israeli territory, although they do not know when,” according to the statement .
Daqamseh was released from prison in March 2017. He showed no remorse.
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