The wife of the perpetrator of Sunday’s deadly terror attack in the Old City left Israel for Jordan several days before the incident, a move which Israeli security officials initially said proved that she had advance knowledge of the attack.
According to a report from Channel 12, the battered wife of Hamas-backed terrorist Fadi Abu Shkhaydam fled her home in the eastern Jerusalem Shuafat refugee camp to escape ongoing physical abuse from her husband.
Sou’ad Abu Shkhaydam reportedly sought shelter from her violent husband and decided to stay for an indefinite length of time with her mother, who lives in Jordan. After learning of the attack, the mother of five attempted to return home and was intercepted by Israeli security officials. After several hours of intensive interrogation, she was released.
Due to his education level and age, Fadi Abu Shkhaydam did not fit the typical profile of a terrorist. But the revelation that his wife had left him days before the attack may explain why a seemingly normal Islamic studies teacher decided to commit the horrendous act of terror.
Abu Shkhaydam would have likely felt great shame about his wife leaving, and knowledge about her behavior could potentially cause permanent damage to his family’s reputation in the traditional Arab community.
Previous Palestinian terrorists have been motivated by a force beyond antisemitism and nationalism – family honor.
In 2004, Reem Riyashi, a married mother of two from Gaza, was involved in an extramarital affair. She then became a suicide bomber, killing herself and four Israeli soldiers at the Erez checkpoint. The act cleansed her family name and cemented her status as a Palestinian folk hero.
According to an INSS report about Riyashi, “the act of istishhad [martyrdom] was the only way to remove the stain of dishonor from both herself and her family.”