The Honenu civil rights organization demands freedom for Jewish security prisoners, in the wake of the release of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons.
"We are against the release of any Arab terrorists from Israeli prison," emphasizes Shmuel (Zangy) Medad, the indefatigable founder of Honenu. "This includes the four Jordanian murderers who were freed this week, and the 250 whom Prime Minister Olmert is planning to release as a 'gesture' to Abu Mazen, and the hundreds or more that Israel may soon give in exchange for Gilad Shalit. The release of terrorists is a sign of weakness, adds experienced terrorists to the war effort against us, and is a dangerous precedent that encourages more terrorism and kidnappings."
"However, the fact is that Israel has already freed terrorists," Medad says, "and therefore, in all fairness and justice, Jews and Israelis in prison for security crimes must also be released."
Asked what recent terrorist releases he is referring to, Zangy - who lives with his wife Ettie and their ten children in Hevron - said, "There have been several, in addition to the release of the Jordanians today. Just a couple of weeks ago, when Hamas overrode Gaza and a host of Fatah terrorists ran for their lives, Israel deliberated for a couple of days, and finally allowed them to be taken safely to Ramallah - instead of arresting them on the spot, like a normal country would have done."
"In addition," Medad continued, "there was the release of hundreds for Elchanan Tenenbaum and three dead bodies. Shortly before that, a few hundred more were released." In August 2003, Israel released 339 Palestinian Authority prisoners as a goodwill gesture to the PA. Of these, 182 were in prison for terrorist activity, and 157 were administrative detainees.
Medad decried the approach of some Israelis who apply a double standard - to the detriment of Israel. As an example, Arutz-7 notes former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni. In October 1995, Aloni voiced her opposition to the release of Ami Popper (see below). At the same time, Minister Aloni said that Arab terrorists could be released because they were fighting for the "freedom of their nation" and acting in the service of a recognized organization. Dr. Aryeh Bachrach, the father of Ehud who had been murdered two months earlier by Arabs in Wadi Kelt, asked then-Attorney General Ben-Yair to remove Minister Aloni's parliamentary immunity and prosecute her for legitimizing the murder of Jews by terrorists.
Honenu has prepared a list of 37 men who are in prison or who are charged with security-related crimes. Virtually all of the alleged crimes were perpetrated, if at all, in response to Palestinian or other Arab terrorism. Jewish prisoners whose release, or an end to their legal proceedings, Honenu demands:
Shimshon Cytryn, 20, convicted of aggravated assault (though innocent of attempted murder) in a rock-throwing incident in Gush Katif two years ago. He is to be married in one month, and to be sentenced in two months.
Border Guard Policeman Shmuel Yechezkel, 22. In a clash with Arabs in eastern Jerusalem, one of whom was placed under arrest, he shot a terrorist who tried to run him over and free his arrested friend. Yechezkel was acquitted in trial, but the State is appealing.
Shai Dromi - Awoke in the middle of the night to find four Arab burglars who had poisoned his dog and were about to make off with his flock of sheep. Fearing for his life, he opened fire and wounded two of the Bedouin, one of whom later died.
Haggai Amir - in addition to his conviction on charges related to the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin, for which he has completed his sentence, he is also serving another four years for planning partisan attacks against Arabs in defense of Yesha towns.
Danny Halamish, Itzik Halamish, and Baruch Feldbaum - accused of firing in the air to scare off a group of Arabs who encroached on their grazing land in Gush Etzion. They were sentenced to 17, 8 and 9 months in prison, respectively.
Nissim Kurkus of Jerusalem. He was attacked by a group of Bethelehem Arabs, who wounded him in his head with knives and other means. He fought back and stabbed to death one of his attackers - and was ordered placed in an Israeli Prison Service psychiatric hospital for nine years.
David Emouyal of Rishon LeTzion - shot and wounded two Arabs in response to the murder of the 8-month-old Shalhevet Pass in Hevron. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Ami Popper, who killed 7 Arab workers in response to a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks. Sentenced to life, but his sentence was later reduced to 40 years by the late President Ezer Weizman. His wife and son were recently killed in a car accident (Popper was driving), and his two remaining sons, with no parents to look after them, have been given over to the foster care of a generous Jerusalem family.
Gur Hamel, 35, of Itamar. On the one-month anniversary of the terrorist murder of his two friends Harel Bin-Nun and Shlomo Libman, and the day that Danny Vargas of Hevron was similarly murdered, he shot and killed an Arab in a neighboring village. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Four Jerusalem Jews, who were sentenced to 2, 3, 3, and 6 years respectively for membership in an organization to attacks Arabs in Jerusalem.
Honenu was established several years ago to help citizens whose spontaneous acts of self-defense in life-threatening situations had embroiled them in legal trouble. In addition, Honenu hired lawyers, at group discounted rates, to represent the hundreds of youths who were charged with crimes related to their protests of the Disengagement/expulsion of 2005.