In the Naimi home in the quiet borough of Closter, Passover was fraught with painful memories. It was eight years ago, on the first seder night, that Moshe Naimi learned of the suicide bombing in Netanya that killed his mother, Forough, along with ‘9 other Jews celebrating the holiday of freedom.
This year, Moshe and Lisa Naimi and their three children at least had the satisfaction of knowing that the mastermind behind the deadly terrorist attack was finally behind bars.
Omar Jabar, who headed Hamas’ military wing in the west bank city of Tul Karm, was captured by the Israel Defense Forces in late March during a surprise raid. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Jabar was responsible for recruiting the person who led the bomber to the Park Hotel, where Naimi’s parents, who had made aliyah from Iran, had come for a group seder.
Naimi’s father, Nosrat, was sitting next to his wife when the terrorist struck. He suffered severe head burns and had shrapnel and glass lodged in his back and lung. He never fully recovered physically or emotionally and died two years ago.
"It doesn’t relieve the pain," said Moshe Naimi of Jabar’s arrest. "But it is good to know that Israel is still vigilant about pursuing these people. It wasn’t a planned capture; they were looking for someone else and happened to find him. I’m happy that he is finally going to come to justice."
Naimi acknowledged that the tragic events have taken a toll on his family. "These are the times, around Passover, when it’s the hardest," he said. "We try to make the best of it by remembering all the good things about my parents. It’s not easy. They were very much loved and time doesn’t make it easier it just takes the edge off."
Naimi and his sister in Israel have initiated a class-action lawsuit against the Jordanian bank involved in the transfer of funds to Hamas ostensibly for humanitarian purposes but, the Naimis hope to prove, primarily for terrorist activities. "The suit was approved by a federal judge in New York City, and right now the lawyers are collecting information to go forward," he said.
In an interview with this reporter two months after his mother’s murder, Naimi had related that he was determined to channel his grief and anger into concrete action. He spoke to Jewish audiences all over the country to encourage advocacy, solidarity, and fund-raising efforts for the Jewish state. He got his synagogue, Temple Emanu-El in Closter, involved in One Family Fund’s Adopt-a-Family program. Shortly after what came to be known as the Passover massacre, One Family gave Nosrat Naimi a computer with teleconferencing ability so that he was be able to see as well as talk to his grandchildren in America.
"Israelis need to know Americans are behind them and close to them," Naimi said at the time. "They are very independent and resourceful, but it’s a tiny country that needs a lot of support moral and financial and they need to know they are not alone."
In addition, Moshe and Lisa Naimi started the Forough Naimi Memorial Fund, which mainly benefits Meir Panim, an Israeli network of soup kitchens and social-service projects (to contribute, send a check to the Jewish Communal Fund, 130 East 59th St., New York, NY 100”).
Naimi fondly described his mother as a fun-loving woman who had grown up in Iran and took great pride in her adopted country. She worked in Israel’s fashion industry but doubled as an unofficial, yet enthusiastic, tour guide for visiting friends and relatives. His father, also from Iran, was a pharmacist. The couple had been married 44 years.
"My father was the one who was the most emotionally devastated by what happened," said Naimi. "And now they are together. For us, what remains are the good memories."