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Sep 15, 2013

Finding the body is worth less than having information about it

Last year a young man discovered the body of long-time missing soldier Majdy Halabi. He had gone missing in 2005 when on duty near Haifa. Israel had offered a 10 million dollar reward for good information as to his whereabouts.

When Ibrahim Kuzali and his brother discovered the body of Halabi in the forest near their village, and reported it, they expected to be granted the reward money. When Israel told the Kuzalis that they would not be getting the prize money for finding Majdy Halabi's body, the Kuzali brothers sued for it.
Majdy Halabi

The courts have no dismissed the lawsuit. While the suit was dismissed for technical reasons - the Kuzali brothers did not deposit the 1 million shekel filing fee (half of it to be paid upon filing, which was never paid). As well, they never filed an amended suit with a smaller claim, in order to reduce the deposit and payment for filing - that they had requested.

Despite that, what is interesting, at least for lawyers, is that the court also said that the reward money had been offered to people who supply Israel with information as to Halabi's whereabouts. That does not include stumbling over the body in the forest and reporting it. Reporting such a find is the obligation of every citizen in Israel, and is also in Israeli law. There is no monetary reward for doing that.  
(source: NRG)
Ibrahim Kuzali

I find the distinction interesting that actually finding the body is worth less than just having information about it. I still think they should have been given some reward, even if not the full thing. Paying out something would have been a nice story. Now, people who might have information about other MIAs and are considering offering it in exchange for prize money might not come forward simply because they think they will be scammed out of their reward. I see why people should not be rewarded for doing something they have to do anyway, but this was a big find, and it has implications for other missing soldiers. I think they should have been given some sort of reward.

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  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly, Rafi.


  2. I think this is a hillul hashem. The brothers had every reason to think the reward applied to their find. By not paying up, the gov't gives the impression that the Jews don't keep their word, and look for slick ways to retain money. I presume there were no stipulated 'strings attached' when the reward was offered, and that really needs to be carried out.

    1. This event also bothers me. The excuse thrown around that the fund was disbanded is really pathetic. And perhaps why bother with such a humongous sum of 10 million US$ when there is perhaps no 'cover to the cheque' in the first place?


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