On January 24, 1999, five members of the Alternative Information Center (AIC) and the son of a staff member went hiking in a wadi in the region of Ain Gedi near the Dead Sea. Flash floods overtook the group without warning, killing Inbal Perelson, Yohanan Lorwin and Elias Jeraiseh. The deaths of these three AIC staff members constitute a tremendous loss to their families and friends as well as to AIC and the cause of peace, equality and recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people.
Inbal Perelson, 38, a resident of Jerusalem, was editor of AIC’s Hebrew publication, Mitsad Sheni. She had recently completed a Ph.D. in literature, and was continuing her studies of bibliotherapy at Tel Hai College. Inbal had been active in various left-wing political groups in Israel, including Hashomer Hatzair, the Israeli Communist Party and the Covenant of Equality group (Brit Hashviyon).
Yohanan Lorwin, 45, a resident of Jerusalem, held a law degree and served as assistant editor and Hebrew translator of AIC’s English publication, News from Within. A religious Jew, Yohanan had been active for years in Marxist circles in the United States. Tikva Honig-Parnass, the editor of News from Within, writes: “Our secular solidarity with struggles of the oppressed, wherever they are, had been for him a frame of reference and judgment, perhaps no less important than his deep religious beliefs.” During my years in Jerusalem, Yohanan and I had the opportunity to work together prior to and during our time at AIC. I will dearly miss his unconditional friendship and political camaraderie.
For his activities in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Elias Jeraiseh, 37, had been a political prisoner in Israel prisons for seven years. After his release just ten months prior to the tragic accident, he joined AIC as the editor of the Arabic publication Ru’ya Ukhra. Writing in Haaretz, Amira Hass noted that “in his society, as in Israeli society, people do not easily accept joint activity…. He knew that in this milieu working at the Center would be seen as crossing several red lines.” Those from the PFLP who attended Yohanan’s funeral were paying their last respects to him as well as honoring Jeraiseh’s decision “to belong to a binational group that seeks to realize a joint, supra-national dream.”
In response to this tragedy, AIC has established the Jeraiseh Children’s Education Fund for the education of Elias’ children. Having been either wanted or in prison for nearly a decade, Elias was able to return to his family only last year and made the education of his children his first priority. AIC suggests that donations in memory of the three be made to the Fund by bank transfer (Account 486337, Mercantile Discount Bank, Salah al-Din branch , Salah al-Din Street, Jerusalem) or by check (payable to the Jeraiseh Children Education Fund, c/o Alternative Information Center, POB 31417, Jerusalem).
The Alternative Information Center, a progressive, non-profit, non-governmental organization, was established in 1984 to combine Palestinian and Israeli activists in the struggle for human rights and coexistence.