|A view of the water tower symbol of Ma'alot with the Netiv Meir school behind it in 1974|
“In all the encounters I've seen for decades during my combat service in the IDF, this was the most shocking event I had ever experienced: to hear the gunfire and explosions, and in the background the screams, cries of distress, pain and helplessness of children. I took part in rescuing the wounded and the dead, and I was the first or second to arrive at the scene of the disaster after the initial team. I saw a sight that cannot be forgotten: dozens of shattered bodies of students with amputated limbs from the explosion of the grenades lying on the floor, screaming and begging, help us! ',' help us!''These are the chilling words of Moshe Givati, (Ret) Colonel and military historian, when he recalled the reality of that evening in the middle of May 1974 in Ma'alot.
The murder of the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes in
The stories and events of these two failures in hostage rescue have become prime examples to many of the security forces of the western world for not only on what to do and what not to do in a hostage situation. Furthermore these sad incidents instigated not only for the need for improved methods /tactics but also the need for advanced uniforms, weapons and equipment to successfully counter terrorism as reflected in today's specialized counter-terrorism units.
The "Freedom Fighters Organization"
The major reason for the existence of the PLO and it's associated movements was the tragedy of the refusal of the "Arabs of the Mandated Area" to accept the UN Partition plan (UNR181) in 1947. Their refusal and the Arab Leagues invasion led to the sub-sequential war for Israel's Independence.
Historical Background to the conflict
The Arabs of the Mandated Area, unlike the Zionists, had a divided leadership and were incapable of establishing a country in the area designated to them. With this weakness in mind the members of the Arab League chosen that moment to divide the area between them by invading. The Arabs of the Mandated Area were called upon by the invading armies to flee for their lives as Arab radio stations broadcasted reports of "Massacres" by the Jews the most infamous being that of the action in Deir Yassin.
Even today the Palestinian Movements all base their existence on the fiction of the "Nachba - Catastrophic Defeat" or the lack of victory in the destruction of the Jewish presence in "Palestine". It is this "Big Lie"of the "return to our lands"or as Plato stated "The Allegory of the Cave" that is still being taught in UNWRA schools until today.
The three Arabs who became the murderers of the children of Safed in Netiv Meir were born in "Occupied Palestine." Yet they were instilled with such passionate hatred that they choose to ignore their freedom offered in the Israeli society joined the terrorist organization to kill the "Occupiers". This virulent hatred continues unabated daily on the media of the "Palestinian Authority" until now.
The Story of Ma'alot
The untold, and under publicized story,that most people in the world are unaware of is the story of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Few know that the original residents of Ma'alot and the parents of the children murdered, were also victims and refugees. They were sons and daughters of more than 900,000 Jews of Arab Lands that were summarily kicked out of their homes, were they resided for generations, deprived of their possessions and expelled in revenge for the "Loss of face" and embarrassment of the Arab League loss.
In direct contrast to the Arab refugees who have received billions in aid from the UN. The Jews of 22 Arab lands were absorbed into the tiny State Of Israel under extreme financial burden and lack of basic infrastructure. The only help that Israel received in it's early days was that of world Jewry who were still traumatized by the loss of nearly half of world Jewry by the Nazis. Yet despite all the difficulties and with no where to go. These Jewish refugees from Arab lands were resettled in Mabarrot aka “Development Towns” like Ma'alot as full citizens of the Jewish Homeland.
In 1965 the first commercial center in Ma’alot was completed and there were 21 shops, a coffee shop, bank, grocery store and movie theater. Slowly but surely the Israeli Government and the Histadrudt Labor Union opened factories for employment in Ma'alot: TASS the Israeli Military Industries factory, GIBOR a textile undergarment factory and Telrad. There was a small private company MAGAT a manufacturer of stainless steel containers. All of this growth took place under the constant threat of death by “Falestinian” terrorism from Lebanon and the surrounding other Arab nations.
The Palestinian Murderous Rampage in Kiryat Shmona
The PFLP-GC leadership had planned for a rampage of murder of innocent school children and they had not prepared themselves an escape route.
Their primary motive was to carry enough ammunition and explosives to murder a larger number of victims, without having to devote resources and time for get away.
A gang of terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command led by Ahmed Jibril were the ones who infiltrated into Kiryat Shmona and perpetuated the attack. Upon review of the terrorists involved only one could claim a "Palestinian heritage" two were Arabs from neighboring Arab League countries.
The terrorists involved in the attack were:
Ahmed al-Shaek "Abu Shaker" a Syrian who had joined the PFLP-GC in 1972
Yassin al-Muzani "Abu-Hadi" a 27 year old ex-Iraqi soldier who had joined the PFLP-GC in 1972.
The Terrorists group first entered the elementary school named after Janusz Korczak, but luckily it was empty due to the Passover holiday.
Frustrated by their faulty intelligence the terrorist group turned towards Block 13 on Yehuda Halevy Street. There they entered a four-story apartment block residence, broke into an apartment and murdered Esther Cohen (40) her son David (7) and her daughter Shula (14). They murdered Shaul Ben Eliahu Ramrejkar (64) and Esther Vasnah (60)then they turned to the next door apartment block (No. 15).
The couple Miriam (29) and Yakov (30) Guetta who lived on the third floor, heard the shots and the Stern family's apartment on the first floor. Miriam and Jacob went down the stairs, and instead of escaping to the outside, turned to enter the apartment of the Stern family. Miriam was shot and killed instantly, and her husband was fatally wounded and later died. During the murderous encounter, the Stern family attempted to jumped out of the window but Anisa Stern (47) and her daughter Rachel (8) nut they too were cut down.
Meanwhile the Biton family, who lived on the fourth floor tried to escape with their children by climb from their to the balcony on the floor below. The children Avi(5) and Anat (2.5) and their father Shimon (30) were shot by two of the terrorists, who were still on the third floor and were murdered
Joseph Shitrit had gone to work at his workplace while his wife Fanny (30) and their four children Yochevet (11), Aharon (8) and Motti (4) were at home. Daughter Iris Shitrit (9), saw one of the terrorists enter the apartment and ran to her room. As she grabbed her little brother Moti (4) but her brother frightened by the shots eluded her, left the room and was shot to death. Iris was the only survivor of the family.
A border police force and a squad from the Druze IDF Unit were the first to respond and arrived on the scene. The police patrol encountered fire from terrorists. The Border Police had believed that the terrorists were in school, and attempted to enter under the cover of smoke grenades.
The terrorists who were in the nearby apartment building opened fire at them and hit several police officers. The Israeli forces realizing their error now returned fire to the apartment building where the terrorist were now holed up.
An IDF infantry reserve unit under the command of Col. David Cohen arrived on the scene at 08:15. The unit immediately conducted an exchange of fire with the terrorist where a soldier Sargent Mordecai Grady (20) and a Bedouin member of the Border patrol Suweil Avlack (20) from Tarschicha was also killed in the attack. The terrorists barricaded themselves in an apartment on the top floor of the #15 apartment building and ignored the calls to surrender. During an exchange of fire an explosive knapsack carried by the terrorists - blew up killing them all.
Ten adults and eight children were viciously murdered in cold blood. Here are the names of the civilians:
- Fanny Shitrit (30) her children, Yochevet (11), Aharon (8) and Motti (4)
- Esther Cohen (40) her son David (7) and her daughter Shula (14)
- Mirim and Yakov Guerta a young couple aged thirty
- Shimon Biton (30) his son Avi (5) and his daughter Anat (2.5)
- Anisa Stern (47) and her daughter Rachel (8)
- Shaul Ben Eliahu Ramrejkar (64)
- Esther Vasnah (60)
- A soldier Mordecai Grady (20)
- A Bedouin member of the Border patrol Suweil Avlack (20) from Tarschicha was also killed in the attack.
Infiltration into Israel from "Fatachland" in Southern Lebanon
As can be seen from the anniversary cover of the Palestinian Authority magazine “Glorifying” the mission on the left, they were dressed in "civilian clothing"- blue jeans and they wore different colored shirts.They all wore identical Soviet Made ammunition vests and they were loaded down with; ammunition clips for their AK-47 Kalashnikov machine guns, hand grenades and they had blocks of Czechoslovakian made KGB/STASSI issue plastic explosives.
The three members of the group spent the rest of the night and day of Monday May 13th in their concealed location in the thick foliage of the border area resting and preparing. One of the members of the terrorists gang Ziyad Abdar-Rahim Ka’ik (Ziyad) was well acquainted with the terrain and the backwoods paths since he had lived in the Israeli Arab
Rested and now confident in their success in crossing into "enemy territory" the terrorists continued their trek through the fields and orchards of the Druze
The Fateful Fieldtrip Sets Out. Monday morning
the 13th of May 1974
- teachers Tzion Cohen, Dov Silberman and HaRav Yoseph Amar,
- The ‘armed escort’ were two ex-students of the school who were home on leave from the IDF with Uzi sub machine guns Meir Amar and Gabi Alfasi,
- two female soldiers 1st Lieutenant Narkis Mordecai (Stern) and Ricki Chani (Maimon) were the female first-aid medics,
- a 21 year old literature teacher Edna Strolovitch and the Shop (Crafts) teacher Pinkas Vaknine,
- the driver of the "Tiyulit" truck from the "HaMeitiyel" company Micha Gantz,
- and Yoni Amrousi who was a tour guide from the Para-military youth organization ‘Gadna’ and who was also the person in charge of the field trip.
Before Midnight May 13th to 14th: Blind Hatred
At the same time that the women had left the factory, the three Moslems who were members of a Communistic "Secular" Arab terrorists movement were resting and waiting not far from the Druze village of Hurfeish near the small stone bridge over Nachal Achziv in the thick brush.
Around 10:45PM the Peugeot 404 tender was slowly making its way up the steep hill towards Moshav Zuriel from the direction of Ma’alot. Inside the back of the tender sat six of the Christian Arab women; Fahimah Jiris 17, Sameeya Matar 22, Suaed Matar 16, Marta Huri 42, Violet Dakwar 23 and Hasibah Shalala 27. Suad Jiris 20 and Aebleh Kasis 17 sat next to the Bedouin driver, Fain Saad 24 years old from the
"On the way from Moshav Zuriel in the distance my headlights illuminated someone up ahead standing by the side of the road like someone requesting a ride. As I approached I saw another figure some 10 meters up ahead with a weapon come out of the darkness and take a stance. Suddenly the two opened fire."
The bullets from the merciless fire of the three terrorist’s AK-47's ripped into the women and caused severe damage to the tender and its motor.The driver was also wounded but he was able to put the car into neutral and glide some distance downhill away from the terrorists.
The wounded women in the tender cried out in pain, whimpered and moaned in agony. They suffered greatly from their wounds. They were so severely injured from the gunfire that they were unable to jump out of the now disabled vehicle. They cried out in pain and prayed that they would receive help.
The terrorists evidently taken aback by the encounter fled the scene along the side of the road to the nearby foliage of the Wadi towards Ma’alot.
The head of Elkoush security Musa Abu Ayoun was startled by the ferocity of the sound of the gunfire on the nearby road. Several members of the Moshav who had been in their homes also heard the gunfire and grabbed their weapons. As prearranged in drills they manned the positions around the Moshav.
Abu Ayoun who had been alerted by the Army of the presence of terrorists in the area had not undressed and had been resting in his home in the Head of security station when he heard the gunfire. Rushing to the main gate he encountered the driver Fain Sa'ad. He placed him in his jeep and rushed him to the infirmary next to his Security "Headquarters" where he had a phone and sent a runner to wake the Commander of the Meona Police Station and to have him come to his base.
In the meantime because of the old district system he was connected to an alert phone line to the police at the old Sasa Police station who then alerted Meona of the incident by phone at around 11:45PM Tuesday May 14th. While he was in the infirmary next door to the head of Elkosh Security office. Sa'ad was bandaged by the Moshav nurse and the Commander of the Meona Police Station began to question him to elicit more details of the incident before being evacuated to the
At the same time the
The older much more experienced Bedouin tracker of the Border Patrol outnumbered by his colleagues in the IDF adamantly pointed to the direction of Ma'alot. The Western Galilee District Police commander Yakov Granot listened and relied on the assumption of his Bedouin Tracker and ordered Yakov El Kobi of the TAAS - Israeli Military Factory Border Police contingent to be on alert. He and his Chief of Detectives Shlomo Boutbol went to the Offices of the TAAS complex in Ma'alot.
Shimon Elmakius, one of the original Moroccan refugees that had settled in Ma'alot with his family, was on duty in the Army reserves Civil Defense unit in the Town's Emergency Headquarters located in the basement of a building adjacent to the Magen David Adom emergency ambulance station.
Around those who had been on duty and the two drivers of the ambulances were released to go home to sleep. Only he and Eliahu Ben Naim remained on duty. With the attack on the tender of the Arab workers from Kiryat Ata, the police in the Sasa station had called and notified him of terrorists in the area. He was requested to awaken the ambulance drivers Chaim Lev and Shalom "Mardoushe" Amar and to send them immediately to the scene to treat and evacuate the wounded.
Believing that the terrorists had completed their attack and now were fleeing back to
Tuesday, May 14th.1974
Emboldened by their successful attack on the Zionist vehicle, the terrorist leader Ziyad-Rahim decided to cut across and through the fields and orchards of the now aware and guarded Moshav Zuriel to the East, thereby adverting being spotted. As they walked they could clearly see the small sleepy
8-month-old son Yitzhak under the bed.
Ziyad-Rahim lounged into the apartment and kicked the bedroom door open as he sprayed the children's bedroom with AK-47 automatic fire murdering the eight month pregnant Fortuna and their five year old son Moshe Eli in cold blood and severely wounded the five year old daughter Biya in the abdomen. Both Biya and her orphan brother Yitzhak survived.
The sounds of the gunfire in the middle of the night were muffled and the neighbors that did hear had no means by which to notify the security forces because at that time there weren't telephones in homes of the local citizenry.
On their way to the school the terrorists encountered an elderly man Yakov Kadosh a sanitation worker for the township whose job was to place the garbage pails near the sidewalk for collection. Approaching Kadosh Linou greeted him in Hebrew by saying “Boker Tov” (Good Morning”) and Kadosh replied “Boker Tov.” Since the terrorists were "Israeli-Arabs" they knew Hebrew and asked for directions to the school. Kadosh pointed out the direction. Linou asked him;“Are there Children at the school?” “Yes” replied Kadosh. One of the other terrorists asked him “Are you a Jew or an Arab?” When Kadosh replied “Jew” he brutally beat him and then shot him. Luckily according to Kadosh he fell on the side of the street and was only wounded but he feigned death. This gunfire did wake several of the neighbors. The terrorists now wary of the noise made by their gunfire hurriedly carried on leaving him for dead.
The terrorists ran up a short pathway crossed a narrow road and then ran up the driveway towards the tour trucks that were parked across the courtyard towards the Netiv Meir Grammar school, where the tour group was spending the night.
“It was close to and I heard someone knocking on the door saying, “Open up, open up!” The door was made from glass that was not transparent and I asked; “Who’s there?” and the teacher Pinchas Vaknin replied. “It’s me I’m outside. Open the door”.When the terrorists entered they surprised the sleeping students and escorts. As they entered and climbed the steps to the second floor Cohen cried out “mechablim ( terrorists), anyone who can run for your lives!”
The students who awoke from all the commotion were dumbfounded during the first few seconds. Many of them thought it was just a gag until they heard the first automatic volley of shoots fired by the terrorists.
As the terrorist rounded up the students they kicked and hit the children and forced them under gun point and shots to sit on the floor. The terrorist then began to place explosive charges, booby traps and fuse lines throughout the entire school building and the classroom. The terrorists had planned to activate the explosives by direct current from the school electricity connection. A plunger to effect the explosion was on the teachers table in front of the classroom with Ziyad's ammo vest which was laid out on the desk. Linou and Harbi stayed with the students and a Ziyad-Rahim went to the third floor landing where he could observe the access to the front of the building.
Once the Israeli government was informed of the situation, the terrorist began negotiations for the release of the hostages. They also demanded that the French and Romanian ambassadors come to secure the deal. Officials complied and two of the terrorists held in prison were even brought to the school and shown to them that the Israeli Government was seriously dealing with their demands for release.
One of the students Yeshai Maimon volunteered himself to stand up to the terrorists since all but one of the teachers and adult escorts had fled. The terrorists took the megaphone left by the head teacher and gave it to Maimon. They then presented him with pre-prepared texts with their demands.
Sarah Madar the heroine
"She was really was wonderful. She really was the heroine of the day. She bolstered confidence and gave encouragement to all of them. It was too bad that the hand of the murderers was also upon her,"
"Do not be afraid," "No one will dare to touch us, we must find courage and show heroism."
"Friends, we remain loyal to each other to the final moment together, and if we are to die, we will die together."
At 06:00 AM The terrorists repeat their demands as they snipe at residents who out of curiosity attempt to approach the building.
07:00 AM the chief of staff Mordecai Gur arrives at the scene.
07:30 AM Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan and Commander of the Northern Command Raphael "Rafual" Eitan arrive and go to the local Council and announce to Council Leader Eli Ben-Yakov; "We are in charge now!" "You take care of the residents and we will take care of the terrorists" boasts Dayan.
08:00 More shots are fired by Linou at onlookers. Army personnel are told to withhold fire.
09:00 -12:00 Tenseness in the air. Soldiers take up firing positions in two nearby apartment blocks near the school and inside the gym near the school snipers take position. News correspondents and camera men who attempt to get close are fired upon by Linou.
The parents of the children begin to arrive from Safed. There are loud arguments mothers crying. All want to see their children released unharmed. They are gathered together not far away. Parents demand to know what is being done.
MK Amnon Linn, the mayor of Safed Aharon Nachmias and members of the City council offer themselves as hostages in place of the children to Dayan but he refuses to discuss it.
13:00 Two students a boy and girl who "were not feeling well" are released with a list reaffirming the demands of the terrorist. They report that the school has been wired with explosives and that the terrorists have been treating them well so far.
One of the long lasting horrors and examples of bravery comes from the 15 year old Ilana Ne’eman who wrote on a simple note book page these last words to her family:
The time is now 11:00 am. I do not know how many hours I have left to live, so I’m writing to you.
I’m sorry, Mom, that I didn’t listen to you and I went on the trip. Yeah, I know you didn’t force me to stay, but you were concerned, and preferred that I not go. But I went. Because I knew my job.
I wanted to say thank you for the education you gave me and the amazing years I had- all thanks to you!
Now I’m 15 and a half and if I have to die, I will die quietly with dignity and faith, yes faith, that you gave to me. You told me that life without faith is always trivial and much more painful, and now in these difficult times I have a lot of faith. And faith that you are right.
Life gives a person a lot, and though I didn’t have a choice in almost anything, not when and where to be born, and who to be born to, but I had a good life… I was a religious kid, in Israel, with wonderful parents – with you.
Large hours – I haven’t had, that I did not merit to get and probably will not merit, but thanks to you I passed the test of honor at small and dark hours, regular daily hours.
Mom, do not cry a lot when I die. When Rivka has her baby, name it after me- Ilan or Ilana, and raise him like me to be strong, and make sure he knows what his goal in life and why he was born.
I know that you’ve had a hard life before and after I was born, and when I die it will be even more difficult, but always remember that hardships will bring hours of joy and satisfaction.
I am not crying, my eyes are dry, it won’t hurt when I die, I’m not sorry, and when I say “Shema Israel” at my last hour, I will think about you.
I had to make the trip, we should not stop living life- the danger lies everywhere and if we have been decreed in heaven, it will always happen. If we hide in shelters, our danger is greater. It is better to live moral life and die for Kidush Hashem!
This letter will be my last world. Please show all members of the family this letter send them with great love regards from me. To all my friends and neighbors send them success! This is my last chance for in an hour I will leave you.
Lovingly, your daughter - Ilana
The actions of the terrorists in Kiryat Shomna weighed heavily on the cabinets decision. Moshe Dayan was adamant in his desire to eliminate the terrorists even though the it was reportedly rumored that as the deadline approached Nayef Hawatmeh had told the Romanians that he would settle for the three members in the school to be flown to Cyprus. The excuse was that there was to plane to fly them out on but no one thought to ask US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for the use of his plane which was at Ben Gurion Airport.
The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, met in an emergency session, and by 4:00 p.m. a decision was reached to negotiate, but the DFLP members refused a request for more time.
The Israeli government then voted and it was agreed that the rescue attempt would begin at 17:30 (5:30PM) Motta Gur later recalled that Moshe Dayan had ordered him to begin final preparations at 16:45 (4:45PM) and that the assault would jump off at 17:25 (5:25PM).
Only two members of the Israeli government Dr Yoseph Burg and Moshe Kol had voted against military action and pushed for further negotiations.
When they broke in and after Galili’s team was ‘knocked’ out. Levine led his attack group up the stairwell but because of the thick smoke they ran to the empty second floor and had to waste precious moments rushing to the first floor hallway where the children were being held in the classroom.
As he stood there he was shot several times by the members of the assault force. Yet he continued to stand firing into the children. It was only when a burst of fire broke his left wrist did he pick up two grenades and threw them into a group of young girls huddled together on the floor three feet in front of him murdering them.
As one of the survivors Shlomo Aburamd later related, the team that was to have scaled the ladder and confronted Linou failed to do so because of the amount of panicked children crashing down on them from above. They were also prevented from ascending into the classroom by Lini who was throwing grenades out of the window the entire time.
Once the assault force was able to kill Linou the members of the assault team entered the room and discovered Haribi behind Amsalem and neutralized him.
In the end the assault team had managed to kill all the terrorists, but at the terrible cost of twenty-two dead schoolchildren and more that fifty wounded. With the conclusion of the fighting at 17:45 the tuff combat veteran elite soldiers were stunned and sickened by the sight of the carnage and the large pool of blood from the mangled bodies of the teenaged children on the floor. Immediately the combat engineers leaped in to dismantle the explosive charges placed by the terrorists. The line of stretcher bearers and medics rushed in to begin removing the wounded to the mobile hospital and evacuation center that had been established two blocks away. The Combat engineers worked to remove the unexploded grenades and booby traps set up by the terrorists. Parents and relatives of the children had attempted to rush into the building to find out what had happened to their children. The police and the soldiers stationed around the building strained to prevent a further tragedy due o the explosive charges that needed to be deactivated.
The wounded and the dead were quickly evacuated to the local hospitals. The wounded by helicopter and the dead by ambulance.
|The center picture of Galil Maimon carrying his sister Tzippi became the symbolic picture of the terrorist outrage.|
Light Among the DarknessMoshe Asulin whose two sons had been in the school searched for them. His son Yakov who had been wounded in the leg was found in Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Moshe frantically searched for his other son Chaim in the Rambam Hospital.
Suddenly a Rabbi serving in the Army Rabbinute (the Chaplaincy Corp) approached him took him aside and inform him that his son Chaim had been murdered in the attack and that his body was in the Morgue at the Government Hospital in Nahariyah and that they requested that he go and confirm the identity of his son's body. Moshe was shattered and requested that the Rabbi ask his brother Yisrael , who worked in the civilian rabbinate in Safed as an undertaker to go and identify his nephew and to prepare his body for the funeral. He also asked him to begin all the secondary preparations and arrangement for the funeral. Death notices were prepared and Yisrael set out to the Morgue at Nahariyah Government Hospital.
Upon his arrival, Yisrael entered the sad room with the bodies of the murdered children who lay upon bloody stretchers covered by bloody army blankets.
A doctor who had been working nearby entered the morgue reluctantly because he too was skeptical of Yisrael's call. Holding Chaim's undamaged wrist he discovered that there was a feint pulse! Immediately Chaim was wheeled into the emergency unit and doctors worked frantically on his wounds from shrapnel and the ten bullet wounds!
At the end of the medical efforts Chaim Asulin remained in a coma for four years.
Chaim later recalled; "I suddenly remember awaking after four years at the age of nineteen on my birthday of all things."
Chaim Asulin survived his wounds and though he lost a hand he served in the IDF and is married with two son and a daughter.
The year following the Terrorist Massacre in Ma’alot in 1975, the B'nei Akiva established a Yeshiva in the neighborhood dedicated in the name of the Cohen family.
The Mishmar Ezrachi or Civil Guard
"The police procedures at that time did not require one Police District to submit information about trips approved in another district where the permission for the Field-trip was issued." That notifications were not properly handled and that the procedures for issuing cross district field-trips were non-existent. "This created a situation in which the Northern District had no comprehensive information on school field-trips and Gadna Youth Corps trips made in their area of responsibility".
Furthermore in the Horev Committee report it was found that the commander of the Meona police station, who was directly responsible for the security of Ma'alot, was new to his position. He had assumed command less than six months before and did not even have a phone in his place of residence. That the Station Commander had not been informed of three separate school field-trip groups on annual trips who spent the night in a 1 kilometer radius of one another within Ma'alot.
The commander of the police station in Meona had not been fully informed of the high level of tension due to security considerations in his sector. That none of the Higher Echelons of the Israeli National Police were willing to accept responsibility for notifying the commander of the actuality of the dire situation.
The principal of "Netiv Meir" Shalom Marati later stated that he had received instruction on the same day of the attack from the Galilee District police headquarters that due to the tense security situation the school must provide accommodation for the Gadna group from Safad.
"On the night of the 14th to the 15th of May 1974 before leaving the station for the night the Commander had not been fully briefed by the District Headquarters and the Army.He was totally unaware of the dire situation and had merely placed a usual shift of a desk sargent and a sentry on duty at the station only. In the Horev committee report it stated that the Police Station commander, had been on leave on May 14. Towards the evening, he returned to the station and called the Commander of Haga-the Civil defense for Ma'alot - to be on increased vigilance, given the news they had in common with IDF activity in the area. After that, he went home to Elkosh, some seven to eight kilometers from Meona. It should be noted that although the Police Commander had settled in Elkosh before the Yom Kippur War, Bezeq had yet to install a phone in his home. Leaving him with no means to be contacted in an emergency."
Another glaring dereliction was the leaving the security for the town in the hands of Haga. Haga was a Civil Defense group made up of mostly elderly men in poor physical condition. Civil Defense personnel at that time were responsible for patrols every few hours around the town to watch for suspicious packages or objects and maintaining, a "presence" near schools during the school year. They would stop their work at night, except for the commander and a on duty soldier at the command post. The murder of 18 Israelis from a previous infiltration of terrorists from Lebanon to Kiryat Shmona a month earlier brought the civil defense commander to order his men to start maintaining and patrols starting at 4:00. According to the report, until May 12 the Haga Unit in Ma'alot had been reinforced by squad of regular soldiers, but this unit had been reassigned on the morning and had not been replaced by another unit. The reason for this was that the reinforcements were directed to the border area due to the alarm of possible intrusions near Moshav Zarit. Because of this there was no squad of regular soldiers based in Ma'alot between the 14th and 15th of May, during which the attack took place, there was no guard duty in the town itself.
On the 40th anniversary of the Massacre Col. (res) Moshe Givati, who was among the injured rescue force from school stated: "Seven long hours went by since the first incident with the women workers. How could it be that no security force was sent immediately to guard the school children and secure the school? Where was the army? Where were the police? Where in the hell where their teachers assigned to escort them?"
The hideous atrocity of the cold blooded massacre of innocent civilians, mainly children, in Ma'alot is the epitome of “Falestinian” hatred towards the rebirth of the Jewish homeland. It’s outcome, though terrible, drew worldwide attention to the need for change in Development Towns. This need for change was felt in also in the relationship between the Israeli Government and the inhabitants of "Development Towns" who were primarily Sephardic Jews. The eventual backlash ended in the overwhelming victory of the Likud in the elections of May 1977.
On 21 November 1995, Maalot - Tarshicha achieved the status of a city after the city doubled its population with the arrival and absorption of many immigrants from the former Soviet Union during the early 1990s.