Release Jews, and not terrorists
The following is a translation of an opinion piece written by the director of Honenu, Shmuel Meidad (Zangi) which was published on Wednesday, April 23 on the Hebrew Arutz 7 (Israel National News) site on the injustice of releasing terrorists without giving Jewish residents of Israel similar consideration. For the original see here. Opinion: Release Jews, and not terrorists Published: 23/04/14, 16:21 After Shabbat during the intermediate days of Passover I sent [Knesset Member] Uri Ariel an SMS: “Uri, you’ve already participated in the release of many murderers of Jews. Now the time has come to release Jews. And only Jews. His response was immediate: “Thanks and chag sameach.”. Fifteen years ago I demanded the same of Ezer Weizman, then President and also of Tzachi Hanegbi, then Justice Minister. I was answered in the affirmative. On the seventeenth of Shevat, 5759 [February 3, 1999] Weizman reduced the sentence of all of the Jewish nationalist prisoners, for example Yoram Shkolnik (serving a life sentence) the Kahalani brothers (both sentenced to 12 years), Nir Ephroni (kibbutznik who avenged the murder of a female soldier, Hadas Kedmi) and more. For many years I have been requesting that Uri join the demand for releases such as those (there are 8 Jewish nationalist prisoners). The government of Israel of which he is a member has released many murderers of Jews who harmed so many Jewish families in Israel. At one point Uri requested approximately two weeks to think it over and in the end decided not to join the effort for the release of the prisoners. When I asked why, he answered that he did not want to participate in releasing the Arab terrorists. I brought his attention again to the wording of the petition: “Despite our opposition to the release of despicable terrorists who harmed so many Jewish families in Israel – not releasing Jewish prisoners constitutes a discriminatory policy towards them,” but he insisted and claimed that despite the wording there was some hint that there would be reciprocity and terrorists would be released to attain the release of the Jewish prisoners. I replied to him that he was being self-righteous and shirking his responsibility because the fact is that the Arab terrorists are released in waves of repeated releases and Jews are left in jail. He continued to insist and did not agree to join the many Knesset members who signed, including Zevulun Orlev, Efi Eitam, Miri Regev, Amram Mitzna, Tzachi Hanegbi, Yariv Levin, Dudu Rotem and many more. Forty five Knesset members in the previous Knesset signed, and as of now 30 members of the current Knesset have signed. Uri is not signing the letter to asking for the release of Jewish nationalist prisoners. To make matters clear concerning the opposition to the release of terrorists, I will note that after the Shalit family organized a march after which they sat opposite the Prime Minister’s residence in order to pressure him, I, as a private citizen, organized along with David Ish-Shalom the “Not at Any Price” protest, and every evening for approximately two months, we stood opposite the Shalit family. This was a particularly difficult protest, standing opposite the family of a kidnapped soldier, and even the bereaved families [whose loved ones were murdered by the terrorists scheduled for release] who had joined us broke down after several days. Protesting the release of terrorists was so important to us that we stood there night after night, despite the great difficulty. I did not see Uri there at all. Uri, I turn to you now publicly for the first time: This isn’t like you, Uri. What happened to you? How can you be party to injustice and hypocrisy such as this? Now that you are a senior minister you are a full participant in the things that outraged you so much in the past. Come to your senses. I believe in your good soul. The things that we see so clearly from here – appear blurred to you there. Act now to release Jews and not terrorists.