Dad Didn't Love Me

The law should be changed to include two categories of murder: first-degree and second-degree.

"I thought my life would be much better if Dad died," Avior Avraham, 21, told police investigators after he broke down and admitted to having killed his father at the beginning of the week. "Dad didn't love me, he blamed me all the time," he explained.

Avior reportedly planned his father's murder down to the last detail. In the morning, he sent an SMS to his father in which he wrote that he had sustained a head injury. The father "who didn't love him" dropped everything and rushed home to help his son. And then Avior took a pistol and emptied a magazine into his father's body. Immediately afterward, he went to his job at a nearby shopping mall and the sun continued to shine.

His father's sin lay in the fact that he was not pleased with his son's shady friends, nor with his son's use of the drug hagigat. The son did not like his father's remarks and said that he "preferred sitting in jail to living with such a father" - as though someone had forced him to live at his father's expense at the age of 21.

Avior knew that he would receive a "life sentence," but he also knew that after a few years, the president would reduce his punishment to 25 to 30 years, and he would begin to receive furloughs. During one of these furloughs, he would meet a woman, marry and have children. As a result, the parole board would show consideration for him and reduce his sentence by one third, "for good behavior," so that at the age of 40, he would leave prison, entirely free, with his whole life ahead of him.

Next week, the parole board will discuss a request for parole by Arbel Aloni, one of the two murderers of taxi driver Derek Roth. That was a planned, cold-blooded murder, which was not preceded by any provocation on Roth's part. Aloni and Moshe Ben-Ivgi entered Roth's taxi in Herzliya Pituach, and there they fired six bullets into his back. They were sentenced to life imprisonment, but Ben-Ivgi fled to Argentina on one of his furloughs, and was recaptured there. Aloni married in prison and has a daughter. Whereas Roth did not get to celebrate his 51st birthday. He was the sole supporter of his family.

"Anyone who shows mercy to the cruel ends up being cruel to the merciful," wrote Roth's children this week to State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, in a final attempt to stop the race for parole.

On Pesach two years ago, a wedding was held in prison. The happy couple were Sigalit Haimovitz, the murderess of Assaf Steierman, and Shahar Cohen, the murderer of Alfred Cohen. The prison authorities provided them with a private room with a double bed, a television, a shower and a bathroom, so they could spend their first night together properly. After all, we are very concerned about the rights of murderers. But what about the rights of the murdered? What about the spilled blood of Assaf Steierman and Alfred Cohen? What about the suffering their parents are experiencing? What about teaching a lesson and deterring potential murderers?

Sigalit Haimovitz was sitting on the porch of her home in Kfar Sava with two of her friends when Assaf Steierman passed by on the street below. Haimovitz said: "Let's kill him," and the three went downstairs and stabbed Steierman. And when he pleaded for his life, Haimovitz brought a big stone and used it to crush his skull.

Shahar Cohen and Alfred Cohen served at the same army base, but Shahar disliked Alfred. Therefore, he took his personal weapon and emptied half a magazine into Alfred's body. And when Alfred fell, wallowing in his blood, Shahar fired the rest of the magazine into him, to make sure he was dead.

Cohen was sentenced to life imprisonment. But our merciful former president, Moshe Katsav, reduced his punishment to 30 years. Haimovitz was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Both will be released in about 10 years (after the standard one-third reduction), when they will be about 40 years old, with their whole lives ahead of them.

Israeli law has no death penalty for murderers, and that is a good thing. It is better if human beings are not allowed to take another person's life. But the law should be changed to include two categories of murder: first-degree and second-degree. If it is proven that the murder was premeditated, that it was done in cold blood, with prior planning, without any provocation on the part of the victim, the perpetrator should be charged with first-degree murder and sent to prison for the rest of his life - without furloughs, without weddings and without parole. Society owes nothing to such a murderer except life itself, and that is far more than he gave his victim. For someone who commits second-degree murder, however, the present rights should be maintained.

If Avior had known that he would never walk around freely with his friends, see the sea or smell the scent of a woman, he might have hesitated before emptying an entire magazine into his father's body.