Yehoshua Salome


Student's murder saves lives through organ donation and inspires repatriation of city.

Yehoshua Salome - Biography

Born Jesper Jehosua Sloma in Denmark, he was a member of the Bnei Akiva movement where he learned Hebrew. In his parent's home, Yehoshua absorbed a broad humanistic education, knowledge of many languages, love of books, interest in mathematics, and especially love of classical music.

In 1976 he immigrated to Israel and spent a year training in Kibbutz Lavie in the Galilee. In 1977 he joined the hesder yeshiva in Kiryat Arba, official becoming an immigrant and joined the IDF as part of the hesder program.

In January 1979 he began his service as a paratrooper in the Nahal unit of the Israel Defense Forces. His friends and teachers at the yeshiva said that he "loved the Torah and the Land of Israel, and found a special interest in the repatriation of Hebron and planned to build his home there."
Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, who served as Saloma's teacher and father figure told The Jerusalem Post in 2008, "we first met when Joshua was 14 years old. He participated in Bnei Akiva seminars in Scandinavia that I was taking part in, and there I had the chance to learn who he was. At the age of 18, Joshua came with his Bnei Akiva group for a training period in Israel that included studies in the Hesder Yeshiva in Kiryat Arba. Pretty soon Joshua became an outstanding student, who fell in love with the place's unique atmosphere and the Torah studies. Eventually he decided to stay when his friends went back to their countries of origin. He served in the army, and after active military service he came back to the yeshiva and was happy there, despite the unaffiliated Jewish family he came from." 

On the 13th of Shvat 5740 (January 31, 1980), Yehoshua was walking in the casbah (market) of Hebron to buy fruit for the Tu Bishvat holiday when he was targeted by a terrorist sniper and shot from behind. He was laid to rest on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. His friends at the yeshiva set up a memorial for him at the place where he fell, but the monument has been frequently vandalized.

The commander of his unit wrote in a letter of condolence to his family: "We were horrified by the murder of Yehoshua, who came to Israel in order to fulfill his duty to the homeland and was murdered in a criminal manner."

The nearby community of Beit Haggai was named in his honor as well as two other students who were also murdered in Hebron during the course of the year 1980.
The JTA, spelling his name Yehoshua Sloma, said his funeral in Jerusalem was attended by more than 2,000 people. The report noted Yehoshua was unarmed at the time of his attack. 

The killer was Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Ali from nearby Yatta. Born in 1956, he was active in anti-Israel causes since his youth. He was married with two children and a pregnant wife at the time of the murder. Called by his nom-de-guerre Abu Ali Yatta, he spent 28 years in prison where he rose in the ranks of Fatah and was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council where he still serves today.  He was released in a good-will gesture in 2008. Upon his release the Telegraph reported that he "gained additional notoriety for killing a Palestinian whom he believed to be a collaborator with Israel while in prison." The article went on to describe a "lavish reception" for his release. "Abu Ali's family, most of whom still live in the village of Yatta near Hebron, is preparing to slaughter seven baby camels, 40 head of sheep and a bull for a party involving the entire southern Palestinian governorate to mark his return."
Hebron Jewish Presence Sought After Student's Death
* New York Times article on murder 
* Killer celebrates his release from prison in the streets of Hebron
Abbas Greets Liberated Prisoners with Hero's Welcome in Occupied West Bank
Israel to free Palestinian killers
Friends of terror victims: Releasing murderers puts others at risk
Demolish House of Arab Who Admitted Murdering a Yeshiva Student
Yehoshua was treated for bullet wounds but succumbed at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. After his passing, a kidney transplant was conducted by Hadassah doctors and one of Yehoshua's kidneys has given to a nine-year-old Arab girl named Amira Bukassah from an Arab community near Shchem (Nablus). 
The Jewish Post, Indianapolis, February 15, 1980 stated that the other kidney was donated to a Jewish man from Beersheba. Spelling his name Yehoshua Gaspar Sloan, they identified the Arab girl as 12-years-old and noted "despite the fact that she exclaimed bitterly against the Israelis and wore a PLO necklace, her life was saved at Hadassah hospital." 
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency of Feb. 11, 1980 quoted Aguda Israel MK Menachem Porush, as saying the Arab teen was "known for her enthusiastic support of the PLO."
The Jewish Observer,  February, 1980 issue commented on the issue stating "an alert was issued to the other hospitals in the region that two kidneys were available for someone in need-with two responses coming in. The next of kin, Yehoshua's parents, live in Denmark and apparently were not available for permission. The picture here became touched with bitter irony: a recipient of one of Yehoshua's kidneys was Amira Abkussah, a devout supporter of PLO terrorist activities. She does not keep her sympathies in the closet, but has been using every opportunity to espouse them with speeches, amulets, and posters on the hospital walls. Only a youngster, true. But in the tinderbox atmosphere of contemporary Israel, a sixteen year old girl calling for the "annihilation of the Jews of Palestine" is an agent provocateur. Thus, the remains of a martyr, who was killed in hatred by an Arab bullet, was violated for the sake of the welfare of a girl who has been preaching and urging acts of the very kind that ended his life. The bitter irony of this case only serves to dramatize the unacceptability of the law as it stands; and the imperative need to change a bad law, and align the procedure in Israel with that of all democracies: that pathologists refrain from tampering with the body of a deceased person when they do not have prior consent from next of kin."
The book Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land by David Shipler described the incident as follows:
"In 1980, a twelve-year-old Arab girl described as outspokenly anti-Jewish, received a kidney transplanted from the body of a Jewish settler, Jesper Jehosua Sloma, who had been slain in the Arab market of Hebron. The match was coincidental, a function of blood type and timing rather than religion or politics. But it ignited an outcry when a nurse in the dialysis unit of another hospital, Shaare Zedek, complained that the girl, Amira Aabi Bukassah... had made anti-Jewish remarks and had worn a pendant with a sword engraved with the word "Palestine," a symbol meaning that Palestinians should take over and drove the Jews into the sea. "She spoke all the time against Jews," Menachem Porush, a Knesset member... "in this case, a boy has been killed by Arabs. To transplant his kidney into an Arab girl who hates Jews, this is too much." The Knesset later enacted a prohibition against transplants without a relative's permission."
He is remembered in the book A New Shoah: The untold story of Israel's victims of terrorism by Giulio Meotti:
In 1980, a twelve-year-old Arab girl received a kidney transplanted from the body of a Jewish student who was murdered in the Arab market of Hebron. Jesper Jehoshua Sloma had immigrated from Denmark. His family was not very religious, but he became devout in Israel, wore a yarmulke, and combined his service in the army which religious studies in Kiryat Arba. Walking alone through the twisting alley of the Kasbah in Hebron, he was shot twice in the head and died at age twenty.
* Halacha not transgressed -  Rabbis: Kidney Transplant Legal
Murder in Hebron, Violation in Jerusalem
Complaints Rejected over Kidney Transplant
Arab and Jew : wounded spirits in a promised land, page 553
A new Shoah : the untold story of Israel's victims of terrorism page 278
Yehoshua's murder led to increased pressure on the Israeli government to allow Jewish residents to reclaim property stolen after the 1929 Hebron massacre and subsequent Jordanian occupation of 1948 - 1967. Historic buildings like the old Beit Hadassah building were reclaimed in the political aftermath of Yehoshua's killing. 
The plaque in his memorial is situated near the Casbah, an area of shops and cafes off-limits to Israeli civilians. Although located in Area H2 of Hebron, under Israeli jurisdiction, access is limited. Nir yeshiva students and others hold an annual memorial at the spot and clean up any graffiti or vandalism. 
We hope that Yehoshua's memory will be a blessing for all those whose lives were touched by him.