30 years on, Peace Now remembers its slain activist

Peres: Memory of Emil Grunzweig's assassination has not faded; Meretz: Left still faces incitement, delegitimization.

February 10, 2013 11:53
1 minute read.
Peace Now ceremony to mark 30 years since Grunzweig's death

Peace Now ceremony to mark 30 years since Grunzweig death 37. (photo credit: Peace Now Facebook)


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Israel's Peace Now movement on Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of the assassination of activist Emil Grunzweig, who was killed when a hand grenade was thrown at protesters during a demonstration in Jerusalem in 1983.

Friends, family and supporters attended a ceremony outside the Prime Minister's Office, where the attack took place. Many of those present at the ceremony had participated in the protest during which Grunzweig died.

The assassination occurred during a Peace Now demonstration following the release of the Kahan Commission report on Israel's role in the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1983. Activists at the protest were calling on the government to implement the recommendations of the commission, which found that Israel had indirect responsibility for the massacre, and for the resignation of then-defense minister Ariel Sharon. During the protest, right-wing activist Yona Avrushmi threw a grenade into the crowd, killing Grunzweig and wounding many others.

On Sunday, President Shimon Peres sent a letter to Grunzweig's family, writing that "the echo of the terrible assassination of their son by one of his own people at a peaceful demonstration in the heart of Jerusalem" had still not subsided three decades on.

"It reminds us all where uncontrolled incitement, jealousy and intolerance for other views can lead to," the president said. He remembered Grunzweig as an IDF officer, an educator and a peace activist, "who paid for his life with his participation in a legitimate protest, within the sacred framework of freedom of expression."

"Every citizen has the right to live according to his faith, as long as they respect others, and every violent hand will be cut off," Peres added.

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On also released a statement to mark the day, mourning that "thirty years after Grunzweig's assassination, the lessons have not been learned." She warned that Peace Now and left-wing organizations still face incitement and delegitimization when they criticize government policies.

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