Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should not speak at Remembrance Day ceremonies next week because he released Palestinian prisoners during recent negotiations, bereaved parents wrote Wednesday.
“Please spare us and other families of the victims of terror your speech this year. Do not come to the ceremony on Mount Herzl,” Ron Kerman and Yossi Tsur, fathers from Haifa who lost children in terror attacks, wrote to the prime minister. “Since last year’s ceremony, you freed murderers three times on three dates that are etched into our flesh and our hearts.”
Netanyahu is from a bereaved family, after losing his brother, Lt.-Col. Yoni Netanyahu, in the Entebbe mission in 1976.
Still, Kerman and Tsur wrote, “if we were so important and you really felt our pain, you could have prevented our additional, unnecessary suffering.
“We have had enough of your cliches and empty slogans and promises in your speeches.
You don’t mean one word that you say,” they added. “Don’t put us and yourself in an awkward situation, because, anyway, your words will fall on deaf ears. Don’t give your speech and let us mourn our loved ones quietly.”
Almagor Terror Victims Association director Lt.-Col. (res.) Meir Indor said views are split among bereaved families as to whether they should support Kerman and Tsur’s initiative.
At the same time, he said: “It’s hard for us to see the parade of hypocrisy in which senior officials stand in Remembrance Day ceremonies to promise that they will catch [terrorists], while they release them.”
Also Wednesday, Indor and other Almagor members visited Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar to discuss ways to prevent future terrorist releases.
Sa’ar told the bereaved families that, unlike in the previous three releases, he would oppose freeing terrorists if a fourth one comes to a vote, because it would be likely to include prisoners with Israeli citizenship.
The minister added that even if Israeli citizenship is taken away from the released terrorists, he would vote against it.
“Sa’ar moved to the side of the good, courageous guys,” Indor told The Jerusalem Post.
“I don’t know if he will stand up to the pressure, but we hope he will be strong. Sa’ar is important to us because he is a senior minister who can influence Netanyahu.”
Edelstein opposed releasing terrorists from the start, but the Almagor families discussed with him the possibility of passing laws that could prevent it from happening again.
“We owe this to our families,” Indor said.
“We can’t go to our loved ones’ graves on Remembrance Day while, at the same time, their murderers are on the way to being freed, after 83 were already released in the last year.”