Amid a heavy downpour and a cacophony of shouts condemning Binyamin Netanyahu,
the US and 26 terrorists due to be freed in another few hours, some 250
protesters marched Monday night from the Prime Minister’s Residence to the home
of one of the terrorists.
Cries of “Shame on you!” “Don’t release the
murderers!” “Death to terrorists!” “Revenge!” and “Free Jonathan Pollard!”
accompanied the slow procession of men, women and children as they made their
way down Jerusalem’s Agron Street accompanied by dozens of police officers armed
with assault rifles.
Traffic came to a halt as the march paused at the US
Consulate to decry US Secretary of State John Kerry.
in your own country!” shouted one man. “You have no right to put our people in
danger!” exclaimed another.
Although the vitriol was initially directed
at Netanyahu’s gated residence, numerous protesters emphasized that their rage
was primarily directed at Kerry and US President Barack Obama.
end of the day the release of these terrorists is a result of the pressure being
imposed on Israel by Obama and Kerry,” said Jonathan Benedek as he stood under
an umbrella beside his mother. “I don’t believe that any prime minister in his
right mind would willingly release these terrorists or believe this is a good
thing for Israel strategically.
That’s why it’s incumbent on Israeli
society to understand and recognize that it’s not Netanyahu releasing them; it’s
Kerry and Obama.”
While Benedek conceded that the prime minister’s
acquiescence to US pressure did not absolve Netanyahu from responsibility for
the release, he asked that Israelis denounce the US government instead of
attacking Israel’s leadership.
“We should be venting our anger at Obama
and Kerry, not Netanyahu,” he said.
Benedek’s mother, Carol, a US citizen
visiting her son from Maryland, derided the US government as well.
like John Kerry to release terrorists who killed Americans,” she said. “It’s do
as I say, not as I do.”
The march, organized by Meir Indor, chairman of
the Almagor terror victims association, started hours after the High Court of
Justice rejected a petition from the organization not to let the terrorists
“People convicted of murdering women, children and babies are being
freed for nothing?” asked Tzvia Vodda rhetorically as the procession reached the
Old City. “What? Is Jewish blood cheap? Have we not shed enough of it?” Vodda’s
friend, Shoshanah Osterbach, said no peace deal was worth releasing convicted
“It’s a disgrace that the Israeli government even considered the
idea of releasing murderers,” she said. “There is no excuse for releasing
murderers ever! This is not politics. It’s a matter of our
Osterbach went on.
“In America, have they ever done
something like this? Who gives them the right to tell us what to do? We live
here, not them!” Upon approaching the Old City home of Khalef Juma’a Mustafa
Ahmad, police allowed only 15 of the demonstrators to come within 10
“When we have the next Israeli victim, the High Court judges will
not be able to say their hands did not shed this blood,” said Indor. “Shame on
the Israeli government!” Rabbi Yehuda Ben-Yishai, the father of Ruth Fogel, who
was brutally murdered in her settlement home along with her husband and three
children in the 2011 attack that has come to be known as the “Itamar Massacre,”
was among the 15 allowed near Ahmad’s residence.
“This is a black day for
the Israeli nation,” said the bereaved father. “We should turn this date into a
day of mourning and fasting. They are celebrating now while we are in pain and
Indeed, Palestinian fireworks could be heard in the distance,
while Ahmad’s home was strewn with colorful lights.
“Look at these
lights,” said one woman. “These are not Christmas lights – they’re lights to
celebrate the release of a terrorist!” Appalled by the fireworks and lights,
Lizi Hameiri, another protester permitted near the home, scolded Ahmad’s
“You are celebrating your son, but you have nothing to be proud
of!” shouted Hameiri.
“You raised a cold-blooded murderer! What did you
nourish him with as a child? Hatred and death? Shame on you!” Despite the rage
surrounding the protest, 12-year-old Zev Moore, who made aliya with his family
from New Jersey last summer, said he was still proud to be an Israeli citizen
and expressed both pride and hope.
“Israel will never give up no matter
what,” he said. “We will always be strong.”