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Judge Drori ruled on a tort claim filed by two women who were held hostages when Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorists hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985.
The ruling is based, inter alia, on the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People, according to which the Jewish State is responsible for ensuring the well-being of its citizens and of those of Jewish origin who were affected by anti-Semitism.
The Achille Lauro NIS 20 million tort claim was filed in 2000 on behalf of two Jewish-American women who were abducted and held captive by PLO terrorists. The women have since passed away, and the claim was submitted on behalf of their estate by the Shurat Hadin organization.
The PLO argued that an Israeli court doesn’t have the authority to review the case, since the incident did not occur within Israel’s borders. Furthermore, the plaintiffs are American citizens, not Israeli.
Drori rejected those claims, ruling that the case would be heard by the Jerusalem District Court.
This is the second time Drori bases his rulings on the Nation-State Law. “The people of the Jewish nation are often harmed due to their Jewish descent, and therefore Israel must work to guarantee their safety,” the judge wrote in his decision.
“Since the state failed, in this case, and the plaintiffs were hurt from a terror attack carried by the respondents, the State of Israel is obligated to allow and assist the plaintiffs to receive the highest compensation possible, according to the Israeli judicial system,” Drori said.
In 1985, four terrorists took over the ship Achille Lauro while it was sailing from Alexandria to Port Said in Egypt. The terrorists threatened to hurt their hostages on the ship if 50 Palestinian security prisoners serving their sentence in Israel are not released. American Jew Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled man in a wheelchair, was shot and thrown overbroad while still alive.
The ship sailed back to Alexandria, and after two days of negotiations, the terrorists agreed to abandon the ship and were flown to Tunisia in an Egyptian plane.
“The Achille Lauro affair was one of the most horrific terror attacks carried out in Israel’s history, and therefore the Israeli legal system has the authority to review it,” said attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder of Shurat HaDin.
“Drori’s decision proves that even after 33 years, the State of Israel is responsible to hunt down those who want to harm it and will bring to justice those persecuting Jews worldwide,” Darshan-Leitner added.
“Even thought so much time has passed, the PLO will not be able to harm innocent Jews and avoid punishment.”