Family of the Murderer of Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita Receives $42,000 from the PA

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Pay to slay has returned and this time the family of the murderer of Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita got their reward from the Palestinian Authority whose pockets have now once again been lined with American money. Muhannad Halabi murdered Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita on Rechov HaGai on October 3, 2015.

Halabi murdered Aharon Banita and wounded his wife Adele as they walked with their 2 year old son from the Kotel towards the Damascus Gate. Adele ran with her son screaming for help only to be found outside the entrance to Beit Wittenberg where the Lavi’s lived at the time. No shop would help her and the Arab doctor in the health clinic across from Beit Wittenberg refused to go outside to assist and treat her.

It was then that Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi went outside to check what happened when Muhannad Halabi surprised him, stabbing him. After an intense struggle, Rabbi Lavi was killed. Israeli security forces shot and killed Muhannad Halabi.

In the week that followed the shops and medical clinic were shut down and the doctor was apprehended. The Ateret Cohanim Community joined together holding vigil at the site in front of Beit Wittenberg. Yet, despite the mourning and sadness at the loss, something amazing happened. Ateret Cohanim took the memory of Nechemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita and pushed forward, buying and renovating what is today known as Beit HaNof (the House of the View), one of the tallest buildings in the Old City. In addition a permanent stand was opened up at the site of the murder where visitors can buy food and drink.

Beit Wittenberg is a key location and property in the Old City. It is the site of the Mediterranean Hotel, where Mark Twain stayed in 1867 and served as a bustling community for European Jews after it was bought by Moshe Wittenberg. It is also known as the Sharon house due to Ariel Sharon purchasing an apartment in it.

Daniel Luria, Executive Director of Ateret Cohanim said the following after hearing the news:

“A raw Jewish nerve was touched when it was once again exposed that the PA is funding the families of Arab terrorists. This time it was the family of the terrorist Mohanned Halabi, who murdered Rav Nechemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita under Beit Wittenberg in the Old City. Instead of maybe simply driving out the Arab family to one of the neighboring Arab countries and/or stripping the family of its Israeli citizenship, only after extensive legal battles, do the courts allow for minimal destruction of the terrorists home. In any case the family is covered and the terrorist son is treated as a hero by the PA. The family receives money to restore the house and this is just the bare minimum, as there is also financial aid to help the family itself.”

“I would like to remind everyone that the pogroms and Arab riots didn’t just happen in 1928/9 and in 1936/7. It happened this year in Ramle, Lod, Acco, Yaffo, Haifa and in various neighborhoods of Jerusalem. We will ‘maybe’ only be able to live together, in basic low level coexistence when the Moslem world comes to grips and accepts the Jewish State, and when they stop harboring the dream to drive us out from our G-d given land,” Daniel continued.


With the Palestinian Authority, backed by money from the Biden administration actively encouraging more murders of Jews, it is time we continue to answer with the will to push forward. There are more houses to reclaim and communities to build. Our enemies may surround us, but it is the righteousness of our cause and the faith in our path that propels us forward.

David Mark
Article by David Mark

David heads up community development and outreach for Ateret Cohanim. Besides guiding countless groups throughout the Old City and other areas of the Holy Basin, he works side by side with the team on new development projects and educational outreach initiatives. Besides his work with Ateret Cohanim, he is intimately involved with Land Reclamation activities in Judea and Samaria.


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