Daily Israel Report

'We Couldn't Just Sit Down and Do Nothing'

Bereaved son explains unprecedented protest of PM's Memorial Day speech; calls for repeat performances to put an end to terrorist releases.
By Yoni Kempinski and Ari Soffer
First Publish: 5/5/2014, 3:04 PM

Jacob Kimche
Jacob Kimche
Yoni Kempinski
One of the bereaved family members who protested as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu got up to speak at today's Memorial Day ceremony has spoken out about what drove him and others to make their public stand.

Jacob Kimche, who heads the One Heart terror victims support organization, explained that he and several others felt they had to demonstrate against the Prime Minister, following his decision to released convicted terrorist murderers from Israeli jails as a "goodwill gesture" to the Palestinian Authority.

"We've been through a lot... kids who lost parents... we couldn't just sit down and do nothing," he told Arutz Sheva.

Kimche, whose father Rahamim was murdered in a 2002 terrorist attack, said that despite their feelings they decided to hold a silent protest, standing up and holding red flags and walking out of the ceremony together as Netanyahu began speaking

Silent Protest Flash 90

But one bereaved family member could not hold back, and shouted down the Prime Minister, forcing the proceedings to be delayed for several minutes and until he broke down in tears and sat down.

Kimche said he couldn't hear what the man said as he and his fellow protesters were escorted away by members of the Shabak internal security agency.

But he said that he was "happy" that some other people had joined his group in walking out of the event.

"I have no idea who they are but they made me happy," he said.

He also called for regular protests of the sort in order to force the government to end its policy of releasing terrorists.

"I hope that this message will repeat itself next year or in any other event if Nnetanyahu decides to release terrorists - something which should never happen again."

The most damning aspect of the terrorist release was that family members simply weren't informed in advance or providing any counselling, and were left to find out that the murderers of their friends and families were being released from the media. He said the way the authorities acted was proof that they "don't care" about victims of terrorism or their families. 

Describing his feelings on Memorial Day, Kimche said the pain was overwhelming.

"It takes your heart and squeezes it so hard that you want to scream 'Why? Why me? Why my father? Why us? Why is there no end to the attacks...?'"

He also said that unlike most other Israelis, who will move from the sadness of Memorial Day to the elation of Israel's 66th Independence Day, he simply could not bring himself to join in with the celebrations.

"It's done for me... it's over. Game over."