Shfaram bus 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Alex Rozkovsky )
It is no idle conjecture to assume that there would have been vehement wall-to-wall condemnation in mainstream Israel had Jews lynched an already bound and wounded Arab terrorist, had shouts of “Slaughter the Arabs” accompanied his prolonged torture, had even his death not quelled attempts to behead, burn and otherwise mutilate the corpse (after urinating on it).
Members of the lynching mob would have had the book contemptuously thrown at them.
This is not an imaginary episode, but the roles were reversed. An Arab mob lynched 19-year-old AWOL soldier Eden Natan-Zada, after he shot to death four Arab bus passengers in Shfaram in 2005. Screaming “Slaughter the Jews,” rioters inflicted fatal wounds on Natan-Zada, threatened to burn alive the officers who had previously cuffed him and proceeded to hack the corpse.
The authorities had footage of the lynching, but the prosecution dragged its feet for fear of incurring the collective wrath of Israeli Arabs. Belatedly, the trial of seven defendants on reduced charges of attempted murder concluded on Monday. All were acquitted of the main charge, but four were convicted of attempted manslaughter and two of aggravated assault.
Nevertheless, Shfaram Mayor Nahed Khazem said the town’s people were “incensed, feel wronged and deprived.
This trial should have never begun.”
That such sentiments exist intensifies the sense that the law is not equally applied in this country. This is glaringly underscored by the projected release of Israeli-Arab terrorists to facilitate negotiations with Ramallah.
The soon-to-be freed terrorists, who committed particularly heinous murders, are traitors as well. All were fairly tried according Israel’s indisputably liberal tradition. The fact that their sentences will not be served exemplifies palpable discrimination between two classes of Israeli citizens – Jews and Arabs.
Israel’s Arabs benefit from lenience that would never be shown to Jews. The Shfaram case is but one conspicuous example.
When Israeli Arabs murder Jews in apparent terrorist/hate crimes, murder indictments are often reduced to manslaughter, even in unequivocal circumstances of extremely gruesome homicides. Concomitantly, the sentences too rarely seem to fit the crime.
A case in point is that of 51-year-old George Sa’ado who was shot to death while walking his dog in Ramle last year.
Incredibly, the court rubber-stamped a plea bargain that had left the chief defendant with a 12-year sentence for manslaughter. With time off for good behavior, he will be out in eight years.
Sa’ado was strolling near the Jua’arish neighborhood.
Eight Arab adolescents accosted him, shouted anti-Jewish slurs and called to wreak vengeance for IDF operations against terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Sa’ado ignored them.
They waited for him when he turned back to head home – and this time they were armed with a gun. After killing Sa’ado, they fired again – to verify the execution and to slay his dog. The prosecution initially charged the youth accused of pulling the trigger with murder but, somewhere down the line, opted for manslaughter.
This was distressingly reminiscent of the Arik Karp case.
The three Jaljulya ruffians accused of the unprovoked beating to death of the middle-aged Karp on Tel Aviv’s beach promenade in August 2009 (in front of his horrified wife and daughter) were tried and convicted – but not of murder.
In their case, too, the prosecution preferred manslaughter charges because “the perpetrators might not have expected their sadistic assault to produce a lethal result.”
Natan-Zada’s guilt is irrefutable, but he was already immobilized and lying prone on the bus floor when fuel was poured on him and he was pounded to death.
Jews did not condone, much less cheer, his crime. The shock was immediate and unforced. Natan-Zada was branded a terrorist. It even became difficult for his family to find a burial plot for him. The IDF refused to allow his interment in a military cemetery and his hometown of Rishon Lezion did not want him in its civilian cemeteries.
How different are the heroic send-offs Arabs accord the incomparably more numerous terrorists who massacre Jews. Frenzied thousands accompany their coffins, vowing vengeance and bloodshed. Arab terrorists are glorified and proclaimed martyrs.
Soon Israel’s Arab communities will fete the mass murderers released into their midst.