Twenty-one years ago, Jerusalem woman Bella Freund was propelled into sudden fame when she saved an Arab terrorist from an angry mob. Freund ran across an angry crowd beating a 21-year-old terrorist who had just stabbed and wounded two Jewish children; she protected him with her body for nearly half an hour, taking blows meant for him and preventing the mob from killing him on the spot.
Her act was widely publicized at the time, and later inspired the song “Bella Bellisima” by the popular Israeli band Dag Nachash.
Now Bella is in the public eye again – this time, protesting the impending release of the terrorist she saved, along with over two dozen others. She explained to Arutz Sheva that the release of the terrorist undermines the very values that propelled her to save his life.
Freund said she placed herself between the terrorist and the mob “because I’m Jewish, because I’m the daughter of Holocaust survivors… Because in difficult times, we must remember standing before Mount Sinai, and the commandment ‘Thou shalt not murder.’”
“There is no ‘mob justice,’ we are the people of the Law, the people of the Torah,” explained Freund, who is a religiously observant Jew and daughter to a hareidi-Zionist family. The Chief Rabbi of Israel at the time of the incident, Rabbi Avraham Shapiro, reportedly backed her decision to save the terrorist, stating that since the attacker no longer posed an immediate threat it was forbidden under Jewish law (halakha) to hurt him without a trial.
The prisoner release “undermines that message,” she lamented. While she sought to let the law determine the terrorist’s fate rather than see citizens spill blood with their own hands, the government is using the law - the High Court - to overturn his sentence.
The decision to release terrorists has left her “depressed” and wondering what power Israel’s citizens have, she revealed.
“I have no [second] thoughts about what I did. I’m wondering what happened to our values? Where are we? At such a critical time, with renewed terrorism, attacks…
“Am I a citizen here? Is there any meaning to what we do? Or is there the Knesset, and a messed-up coalition incapable of adopting our Jewish values – and they are all afraid of each other, and the citizens pay the price?” she asked.