On Thursday morning, bereaved families from the “Choosing Life” forum gathered outside Ofer Prison to protest what they are calling the “pampered conditions” in which security prisoners are housed.
Herzl Hajaj, the father of Second Lieutenant Shir Hajaj, who was murdered in a terrorist attack, told ArutzSheva, “This abandonment of all sense of responsibility that permits terrorists to do whatever they want while in prison is something that beggars belief. We will not tolerate the situation continuing like this.”
“The terrorists sitting in our prisons murdered our children, our brothers – and then they are housed and pampered in prison,” he added. “We have mercy on the cruel, and are cruel to those who were murdered. We are doing what we can to protest the conditions terrorists are housed in, but this government, like the previous one, just mocks us.”
Hajaj pointed out that, “Prisons are supposed to be part of the system of deterrence. I hope that at least the government will now exploit the opportunity opened up by the escape of the prisoners and capture them dead and not alive, and also downgrade the conditions of security prisoners to zero – just bread, water, and nothing more.”
Hajaj’s wife Merav added, “We’ve been coming here for years to protest at what goes on behind the prison walls, but no one hears, no one listens. Unfortunately, this has now blown up in our faces with the escape of six senior terrorists. Where were the authorities all the years when they wouldn’t listen to us? Everyone preferred to ignore the problem and look what’s happened as a result.”
Another bereaved parent, Boaz Kukia, the father of Ron, expressed the concern that during the tenure of the current government, the situation would actually worsen. “We’ve been protesting against the conditions security prisoners are held in for years,” he said. “The conditions aren’t just a security issue – they also make a mockery of justice and violate all concept of ethics. And of course terrorists aren’t deterred from planning and committing attacks – they even plan them from within the prisons themselves.”
“It’s time that the Israeli government, the security forces, the IDF, the Prisons Service, and the Shabak (Israel Security Agency) all got together and changed the picture, making prisons a true place of punishment so that terrorists don’t encourage their friends to join them and then escape,” he added. “The current situation is scandalous and the entire government is responsible. Unfortunately, given the presence of the United Arab List in the government, things are probably just going to get worse.”
Devora Gonen, mother of terror victim Danny, noted that, “For years, we begged governments to make prison conditions harsher but no one would listen to us. That’s why we are now in the situation in which we find ourselves. All they want is to keep things quiet – and look at the cost. But now it is time for things to change – terrorists shouldn’t have access to television; they shouldn’t be held in the same cells as their friends from the same terrorist group; they shouldn’t be able to rule the roost in prison; they shouldn’t be able to cook their own food. The conditions in prison should transmit a clear message: It doesn’t pay to be in prison. It doesn’t pay to get involved in terrorism.”