16 February 2011 2 Comments

Israel fears its own Giffords shooting

Israeli law enforcement officials, concerned about virulent divisions between left- and right-wing groups in the country, have warned that a political assassination could be imminent.

Dudi Cohen, Israel’s police commissioner, told a conference earlier this month that “murder for ideological reasons … could occur in Israel” and that it was “one of the most disturbing topics of these times.”

Cohen added that more than 100 public figures in Israel require police protection, but that courts don’t hand down significant punishments against those who make threats, on average giving only a quarter of the maximum sentence for such crimes.

As if to highlight the danger, Cohen’s warning came on the same day Yona Avrushmi was released from prison. Yona Avrushmi threw a hand grenade at a Peace Now demonstration in 1983, killing a marcher. Though he later expressed regret for the incident, prosecutors maintained a constant battle against calls for clemency by activists on the right.

According to one Israeli commentator, Avrushmi would’ve been released long ago had he been associated with one of the country’s right-wing blocs, such as the settlement movement. Those blocs exercise political power and their rhetoric causes the atmosphere in which such men act, said Yossi Sarid, a former leader of the leftist Meretz Party. It’s wrong to suggest that Avrushmi or the right-wing assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Amir, truly acted alone, he said.

Read the rest of my article on Global Post.

2 Responses to “Israel fears its own Giffords shooting”

  1. Nathalie 16 February 2011 at 3:08 am #

    This is, I believe, the real danger, far superior to the ones posed by the neighbours.

  2. Matt Beynon Rees 17 February 2011 at 10:10 am #

    My first book of nonfiction was “Cain’s Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East,” Nathalie, and it’s focus was on the internal divisions within Israeli and within Palestinian society — and that until those division were resolved the two sides would be unable to reach a peace deal. It seems more than ever the case.

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