Nationalist spokesmen said Thursday that the light sentences meted out to the murderers of "Jewish terrorist" Eden Natan Zada are "ridiculous," and speculated that Jews who lynch Arab terrorists may also have to be punished leniently in the future.
Attorney Itamar Ben Gvir said that the Haifa District Court determined, in its verdict, that Jewish blood can be freely spilled.
"Yoram Shkolnik, who killed an armed terrorist, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but those who lynched Eden get to go home after a short period," Ben Gvir said. "The court system needs to carry out some soul searching." Shkolnik served seven years for shooting a captured Arab terrorist whose hands were tied, in 1993.
Natan-Zada was killed in similar circumstances at the hands of an angry Arab mob, having already been disarmed and cuffed by police.
Meir Indor, an advocate for terror victims, said that the lenient sentence is "great news" for anyone who may ever wish to carry out a lynch attack on Arab terrorists.
"A few months to two years' jail – minus one third for good behavior – are a very reasonable price that many Israelis will be glad to pay in order to bring about justice for the terrorists who wind up being freed in nauseating deals," Indor said.
"It is true that the Arab populace is violent and threatening and that is what caused the police to get cold feet" and drag out its investigation of the 2005 lynching, he added. "It is true that the Prosecution asked for light sentences from the outset, under pressure of the threats of Arab MKs. It is true that the judges gave even lighter sentences than what the Prosecution asked for, fearing violent Arabs outside the courtroom.
"But once a low price has been set for the lynching of the Jewish terrorist, it will be difficult for judges to mete out severe sentences against Israelis who take revenge against Arab and Palestinian terrorists.
"This is great news for the Family of the Bereaved, who see how murderers are freed from jails without fully serving their sentences," he said, but added that he is not saying whether or not carrying out such acts is proper.
Three of the participants in the lynching of Natan Zada were sentenced to 2 years in jail. Three others were sentenced to 20 months, 18 months and 11 months in jail. A seventh man received 6 months' suspended sentence.
The murders took place on August 4, 2005, during the Terror War or "Intifada" waged by Palestinian Authority Arabs against Jews, in which more than 1,000 Israelis were murdered, many of them in attacks on buses.
Eden-Natan Zada, an IDF soldier, boarded a bus that passed through the Arab-Druze town of Shfaram. At a certain point he opened fire indiscriminately, murdering four people: the driver, and three passengers, including two women.
Other passengers on the bus managed to take away his weapon, and police who were called in successfully subdued and cuffed him. However, a lynch mob assembled outside the bus meanwhile, and the police escaped, leaving Zada handcuffed inside the bus. The mob then broke into the bus and murdered him while he was immobilized.
Arab MKs kept up the pressure on the legal system despite the light verdicts. "We will not accept any verdict that does not include the freedom for all the prisoners " Arab Israeli MP Mohammed Barakeh, a Shfaram resident, told AFP. "We shall organize to protest against this decision," he said.