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'Terrorism is Terrorism - Stop Blaming the Victim'

FM Avigdor Liberman takes media to task over its portrayal of hitchhiking. 'Would you blame a 9/11 victim for working that day?' he asks.
By Hezki Ezra and Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 6/16/2014, 10:58 AM

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Flash 90

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) sharply criticized comments blaming kidnapped teens Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha'ar, and Naftali Frenkel for hitchhiking to get home Thursday night.

"My heart is with the families, whose children have been abducted - there is no place for blaming these young people or their families for the kidnapping that occurred because they chose to study in a Gush Etzion Yeshiva, or because they dared to hitch a ride, where no public transportation is available at all times," he stated Monday. 

"By the same logic, you cannot blame those who attended the Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya [2002], diners at the Jerusalem Sbarro restaurant [2001] or Americans who were working in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 as being guilty of murder," he continued. 

He fiercely condemned the "blaming the victim" mentality. 

"In all cases and in the present case, the guilty party are those who intended to kill innocent people, and they are the ones we must fight to the death," he fired. "Terrorism is terrorism and we don't differentiate between New York, Netanya, or Gush Etzion." 

Liberman also took the media to task over its portrayal of the boys as being partially responsible for their own kidnappings. 

"This is not the time to assign blame," he said. "Their conclusions about the behavior of youths, police and intelligence officials must be postponed until after the end of the event."  

"I urge everyone to transcend internal divisions, show responsibility and to come together and most importantly, back up the security forces who are currently in a race against time." 

Liberman's voice joins a backlash against several Israeli news sites, which critics say have questioned the role of hitchhiking without understanding the full extent of the situation in Judea and Samaria. 

It should be noted that for political and financial reasons, buses in Judea and Samaria are infrequent, and hitchhiking home has become a way of life for residents across Judea and Samaria and is a widely accepted - and common - practice.

Car travel is too expensive for many families, due to both a 150% sales tax on new vehicles in Israel, and gas prices topping 7.66 shekel per liter ($6.50 per gallon). 

One viral video now circulating highlights this, after Avia, an 18 year-old from Samaria, hitchhiked to the Walla! News studio and urged readers to stop blaming the victim in the kidnapping case.