It is not at all certain that the murder of Emil Grunzweig could be called the first domestic political murder in Israel. It is certainly not the last. Only this week the outgoing police commissioner warned of the next political murder.
Hardly a day after the warning was uttered, the murderer Yona Avrushmi was released from prison, as though to signal: There is hope for this kind of murderer. Sooner or later they will return home.
Every murder is a murder, but an ideologically motivated murder is seven times worse and more malignant. So the deterrence must be sevenfold too. Otherwise, the land will fill with them, because the incitement has risen like the tide. Now they don't only want to move people out of the way, but to remove the way itself.
But the alarm bells no longer ring out here as they used to and the warning lights have been dimmed. We have grown accustomed to it, because we have seen it before. The murderers and terrorists from the "Jewish underground," for example, did brief time behind bars. The nationalist rightist lobby did not rest until they were freed. They were pardoned, although not all of them expressed regret for what they had done.
Avrushmi was not that lucky. The settler leaders were not eager to take him under their wing. After all, he did not grow in their garden. The settlers school of religious Zionism did not recognize him as one of its students and did not see him as one of its own. To them, Avrushmi is a Mizrahi bastard.
In this sense Avraham Burg was right. He himself was injured by the shrapnel of the grenade that killed Grunzweig in the Peace Now demonstration 27 years ago.
"Worse criminals than him have been freed since then due to political pressures and coalition compulsions," he said yesterday. But Burg was wrong when he added frivolously, "I'm happy he has been released."
His happiness in this case is worse than gloating. What cause for happiness is there? Avrushmi's bad behavior as a prisoner did not justify his early release, nor was his half-hearted, mumbled regret.
If Avrushmi is getting out today, why shouldn't Yigal Amir get out tomorrow or in 10 years? The very thought is bloodcurdling. For soon Yitzhak Rabin's murderer will have interceders and advocates. After all, over the years he has been gathering admirers and supporters.
Both Amir and Avrushmi acted alone. The one fired his gun alone, the other threw the grenade alone. But they were not alone at the crime scene. They were not the ones who marked the targets. And to this day, those who made Grunzweig and Rabin into targets are walking among us.
Not only have they not been tried or imprisoned, they have not even been questioned by the authorities. The inciters and ranters have intimidated the Shin Bet Security Services, who are averse to dealing with rabbis and religious figures who issue religious pronouncements calling for death sentences.
We are Emil's friends and could have been standing there instead of him. But we do not have the right to forgive, forget and set a murderer free. I doubt very much whether anyone else does.
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