Families of terror victims wage war of tears against prisoner release
Parents of fallen soldiers and terror victims hold quiet protest beside Shalit family's tent in Jerusalem.
As rumors continued to snowball recently over an impending prisoner exchange deal for Gilad Shalit, bereaved relatives have stepped up efforts against releasing Palestinian prisoners in recent days.
For most of Monday, parents of fallen soldiers and terror victims occupied a small tent beside that of Shalit family's opposite the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem where they held a quiet protest against the possible prisoner swap.
Each are hoping the prisoners linked to them by bitter fate is not on the list of those to be freed.
"I'm here to open people's eyes," says Zion Savari, who lost his son, daughter and daughter-in-law in a shooting attack on Route 443 in 2001. "I've already paid my liters of blood, but we don't have to make the mistakes made in the past again. All those who are calling for the deal to be made at any price should think about what that means."
Hagit Rayan, the mother of Maj. Benia Rayan, killed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, arrived at the Shalit tent Monday to support the family, but upon leaving said she firmly opposed the prisoner exchange.
"If it happened to me I'd do the same thing as the Shalit family, but I wouldn't want the government to listen to me. A government shouldn't operate based on the weeping of mothers," she said. "If these murderers are released tomorrow, the next day there will be many Gilad Shalits."
Rayan said during the Lebanon war, her son said if he is kidnapped he does not want anyone released in exchange for him. "I agree with him 100 percent. Do what is good for the State of Israel - don't operate based on tears."
Most vocal of all was Shvuel Schijeveschuurder, who lost both parents and three siblings in the suicide bombing at Jerusalem's Sbarro restaurant in 2001.
"I feel betrayed by the State of Israel and the court system," he said.
Schijeveschuurder vowed if the terrorists involved in the attack that killed his family members are released, he will chase them down himself.
"Like [Simon] Wiesenthal tracked down the Nazis," he said.
Danny Bahat, who lost his son Zvi in the 2003 Maxim restaurant bombing in Haifa, said he knows other bereaved family members planning to take matters into their own hands.
"We have to wonder how Gilad Shalit will feel when in two years, one of those released is involved in a bombing?" he asked.