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Anger Over Investigation into Sharon Death Celebrations

As Israel comes to grips with the death of Ariel Sharon, his legacy has prompted mixed feelings among many Israelis.
By David Lev
First Publish: 1/12/2014, 5:45 PM

Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Flash 90

As Israel comes to grips with the death of Ariel Sharon, the former Prime Minister's legacy – for good and for bad – has prompted sadness and sorrow among most Israelis. But among some, especially those who were shaken by Sharon's 2005 disengagement, in which some 10,000 Jews were thrown out of their homes, the feelings are somewhat different.

Numerous posters have appeared in various places in Israel, and on the Internet, expressing joy over Sharon's passing. According to the notices, Sharon, despite the good he did, ruined all his positive accomplishments by dispossessing the Jews of Gush Katif and northern Samaria, and for this, Jews need not mourn Sharon's death; on the contrary, the fact that he is gone means that a “stain” has been lifted from the Jewish people.

Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich said that he plans to investigate these incidents, condemning those who expressed satisfaction over Sharon's demise. In a statement, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel criticized Aharonovich, saying that there was no law against expressing joy at the death of anyone.

“Freedom of speech includes freedom to say outrageous and tasteless things,” said Avner Pinchuk, an attorney for the organization. “It is not the job of the Israel Police to act as 'thought police.' I find it a matter of serious concern that the minister in charge of enforcing the law does not know the limits of the law.”

With that, Yad Binyamin resident and political official Alon Yunian on Sunday condemned a poster that had been hung in the community of Yad Binyamin. The poster had been hung in a yeshiva in the community, which shared first-hand the suffering of many Gush Katif refugees, who were temporarily housed in the community for years.

I understand the pain of those thrown out of their homes, including those in the yeshiva who were dispossessed,” said Yunian. “But we cannot allow the posting of notices like these, especially by radicals who are afraid to come forward and admit that they posted them, giving a bad name to all students,” he said. “We are burying one of the greatest military heroes in Israeli history,” he added. “We must concentrate on the many good things he did, despite the terrible mistake he made in his old age.”