A man who lost his parents and three siblings in a suicide bombing defaced the
Rabin memorial in Tel Aviv on Friday night, to protest the release of a
terrorist involved in the murder of his family.
family members – Mordechai, 43, Tzira, 41, Ra’aya, 14, Avraham Yitzhak, 4, and
Hemda, 2, were killed at the Sbarro pizzeria at the corner of King George Street
and Jaffa Road in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001.
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They were among the 15
civilians who were killed; 130 were wounded.
Shvuel Schijveschuurder, 27,
acted after it emerged that Ahlam Tamimi, the Palestinian woman who drove the
suicide bomber to the pizzeria, would be released as part of the Gilad Schalit
exchange deal with Hamas.
Early Friday morning, Schijveschuurder arrived
at the memorial site on Rabin Square, threw a large bucket of white paint at the
memorial, and spray-painted the words “price tag” and “free Yigal Amir” in
large, colorful letters on a wall and on the memorial structure.
him throw the paint,” a municipal security guard told The Jerusalem
“I ran up to him and grabbed him. I told him, ‘Don’t resist.’ He
listened to me and remained calm.”
The guard’s colleagues witnessed the
incident in a municipal control room on a CCTV video feed, and contacted police,
who came to arrest him. He was released soon afterward, and banned from entering
Tel Aviv for 15 days.
“I wanted to be caught,” Schijveschuurder later
told Channel 2.
“I stand behind by acts,” he said. “I wanted to attack
the holiest site of the Left,” he added during an interview with Channel 10.
“Only a crazy person would sit at home and do nothing.”
said the voices of bereaved family members opposed to the prisoner exchange had
not been reported by the media, and that the memory of his family was being
trampled on by the release.
Schijveschuurder’s brother Meir told The New
on Saturday that the remnants of the family feel betrayed by the
State of Israel, and were planning to return to the Netherlands, from where the
family had originally emigrated.
The vandalizing of the Rabin memorial
sparked both condemnation and justification.
The Labor Party in a press
release condemned it: “Rabin’s assassination and the monument are a national
symbol that serves as a constant reminder that extremism and violence endanger
the State of Israel.
“Even during these days of heightened emotions, such
actions of hatred and extremism should be rejected with disgust. The law
enforcement system must be firm and alert during these times to prevent serious
acts of this kind.”
The Yitzhak Rabin memorial monument denounced “all
activities of vandalism and damage to the site, which is a symbol and memory of
the murder of Yitzhak Rabin, the late prime minister. The monument, which over
the years has become a heritage site, is a memory and a lesson learned in
“The Rabin Center welcomes the approval of the deal for
the return of captured soldier Gilad Schalit, blesses the Schalit family, and
sees in his release the state of Israel’s obligation to its
The center added that it “works to perpetuate Yitzhak Rabin’s
memory and to examine the lessons that Israeli society should derive from the
assassination, its circumstances and its consequences.”
National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari said Friday that the suspect who vandalized
the Rabin memorial had “gently” expressed the fury of terrorism survivors,
Israel Radio reported.
“The release of killers is suited to anarchy and
not to a state of laws. Under anarchy, boundaries are crosse
d, and even Yitzhak
Rabin’s gravestone has lost its glory and sanctity,” Ben-Ari said in reference
to the impending release of hundreds of terrorists as part of the agreement with
Hamas for the return of St.-Sgt. Schalit from captivity in the Gaza
Tamimi, a member of Hamas, was a 20-year-old female university
student and part-time journalist,
when at the time of the Sbarro bombing. She
disguised herself as a Jewish tourist t drive the bomber.
She later said
that she was not sorry for what she did and does not recognize Israel’s
existence. “Despite the fact that I’m sentenced to 16 life sentences, I know
that we will become free from Israeli occupation and then I will also be free
from the prison,” she said.
JPost.com staff contributed to this report.