Dichter's aide: Terrorist's family can mourn him

Says they have the right, "just like Baruch Goldstein's family;" Likud blasts decision.

avi dichter 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
avi dichter 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The family of the terrorist who shot dead eight students at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem on Thursday "has the right to [publicly] mourn him just like Baruch Goldstein's family," a senior aide to Public Security Minister Avi Dichter told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night. "I don't remember anyone asking Baruch Goldstein's family to stop mourning him in public after he shot dead Arabs. This is the same act. This terrorist killed youths because they were Jews. They're allowed to put up a mourning tent; it's not illegal to mourn him," the aide said, referring to the tent of mourning erected Friday morning at the home of Ala Abu Dhaim, the 25-year-old gunman from Jebl Mukaber. The comments came after the police and public security minister came under fire from Likud MK Gilad Erdan and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu for allowing the mourning tent to remain pitched in east Jerusalem over the weekend, complete with Hamas and Hizbullah flags. "There cannot be a situation whereby the government of Israel, in its territory, is allowing people who are calling for the country's destruction to honor such a vile and despicable murderer and adorn that honor with flags of Hamas and Hizbullah, who want Israel's destruction," Erdan said. MK Dov Henin (Hadash) spoke out against Erdan's demand to dismantle the tent, saying that it lacked respect for the family's right to mourn. "I fundamentally object to collective punishment. He who carried out an offense should be punished. I don't think that punishing relatives is the correct way to deal with problems; it's wrong and ineffective to punish the family," said Henin. Speaking on Channel 2, Netanyahu said: "You've got Islamic Jihad and Hamas flags flying in the heart of Jerusalem. You've got a tent of mourning for the terrorist. This has to be stopped. That tent should be taken down today, yesterday." Earlier Saturday, Jordanian authorities prevented relatives of the terrorist from erecting a mourning tent in Amman. Despite the response by the Jordanians, Dichter's aide said, there are no laws in Israel preventing the mourning of a terrorist. It is, however, illegal to put up Hamas and Hizbullah flags in Israel, he continued, adding that "the flags have been removed by police." Sheera Claire Frenkel contributed to this report.