Fresh Protests Against Terrorist Releases in Jerusalem
Bereaved families, along with the Almagor Terror Victims' Association and the 'My Israel' grassroots organization, are staging a march against the fourth batch of terrorist releases in Jerusalem Wednesday evening.
The families say that the concept of releasing Palestinian Arab terrorists is "intolerable" and unworthy of "being exchanged" even with "compensation" from the US or Palestinian Authority - e.g. the release of longtime captive Jonathan Pollard.
The march will commence at 6:00 pm from the corner of King George and Yafo streets in Jerusalem - the site of the deadly Sbarro suicide bombing thirteen years ago, which killed 15 people including seven children and a pregnant woman. Marchers will pass the site of the "Cafe Moment" bombing in 2002, in which 11 civilians were murdered, and will end at the Prime Minister's Residence.
Elihai Ben Yishai, the brother of Ruth Fogel, who was murdered in cold blood along with her husband and three of their infant children by Arab terrorists in 2011, stated to Arutz Sheva that the demonstration is not just politics; it's principles.
"We are crying out forcefully against the release of murderers," Yishai stated. "Releasing these terrorists is a step toward proclaiming the end of our sovereignty in this country, as well as our moral values and basic sense of justice."
"Enough with this madness," he continued. "Releasing these terrorists constitutes an unjust an unJewish act, and we have to return to who we are. This evening, we march to regain our resilience."
The fourth batch of terrorist releases has sparked considerable controversy, as MKs point out that the previous releases have done nothing to further talks, and that several of the released terrorists have contributed to the increase in terror attacks over the past year.
Bereaved families have continued to protest over the releases, which are now on the table in exchange for the release of Jonathan Pollard and the continuance of peace talks. More than just releasing hundreds of Palestinian Arab terrorists and criminals, Israel would also be forced to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria, according to the terms of the proposal.
Families: "Do Not Use Pollard as a Bargaining Chip"
At a press conference held at the protest tent outside Netanyahu's house on Tuesday, bereaved families and the Algamor Terror Victims Association called upon the Prime Minister and the Israeli Cabinet to reject the brewing deal which is intended to save the peace talks.
Meir Indor, head of the Almagor organization, insisted that while Jonathan Pollard must be freed, he must not be used as "a poker chip in a flagrantly immoral scheme to win concessions out of Israel."
“Instead of fighting terror, this latest round of immoral and dangerous American pressure would be a clear victory for terror, freeing murderers who are likely to return to killing Jews,” Indor stated. Citing a statistic that 180 Israelis have been killed by terrorists freed from prison in previous mass releases, Indor emphasized that “opening our prison gates also makes heroes out of criminals, and encourages other Arabs to follow in their murderous ways, knowing that if they are caught and imprisoned, they will be set free in the next prisoner exchange.”
Yaakov Tubul, father of 17 year-old, Lior Tubul, who was stabbed 24 times and murdered by a terrorist in Ramot, told the large gathering of TV crews and reporters, “This despicable use of Pollard shows that America is clearly on the side of the Palestinians and can longer serve as a fair go-between in the peace talks. Pollard has nothing to do with the peace talks. America just wants more concessions from Israel, that’s all.”
Rabbi Yehuda Ben Yishai, Ruth Fogel's father, said that until now the State of Israel had been a great moral voice in the war against terror - but that if it gave in to the Palestinian demand to release more terrorists, it would lose all of its moral stature in the eyes of the world, and pave the way for more and more concessions.
“When you abandon your highest morals and values,” he said, “then nothing has absolute importance, and you can end up giving away everything which is dear to you, including our mission as a light to the world, and our rightful claim to our homeland. If we abandon the most basic things we believe in, we make a mockery of our independence, and our celebrations of Pesach, Israel Memorial Day, and Israel Independence Day, no longer have any true meaning.”
Elihai, a former soldier, added that in addition to the personal pain his family suffered, and still feels every day, he and his army unit risked their lives in dangerous missions to capture terrorists. When they are set free, he said, it shatters the moral of the army, while strengthening the resolve of the enemy to continue their attempts to kill Jews.
Tzvi Fishman, a spokesman for Almagor, called on more victimized families, and the Israeli public, to join the round-the-clock vigil outside the home of the Prime Minister - saying it was the voice of the families, and their untiring appeals, which had awakened a majority of Israelis to oppose the release of Arab terrorists from prison. He also urged members of the government to speak out strongly against the current scheme, intended to extend the dying peace negotiations and strengthen the Arab position.
“While no one likes America’s cynical use of Pollard as a pressure tactic on Israel,” he said, “If he is freed, in a very real way it’s because of the battle these victimized families have been waging to prevent the immoral freeing of murderers. It’s their moral stand that has given the Israeli government the backbone to finally say no to setting killers free, which in turn has forced America to make this long, overdue offer to release Jonathan Pollard.”
Rabbi Fogel called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to “raise the banner of morality and justice, by not caving in to the political terror which America is waging against you, your government, and the people of Israel, by forcing Israel to surrender to Arab demands. By saying no, Israel will be much stronger, and the world will be better for it.”