Despite the fact that 85 percent of the Israeli population, according to a poll published by The Jerusalem Post, was opposed to Israel agreeing to release 104 prisoners with blood on their hands, a decision was made earlier this week to do so. Now, the family members of victims of terror are protesting — loud and clear.
In the past week, there have been handfuls of rallies outside the Knesset and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s residence calling for an about-face.
“I am fed up,” said Sherri Mandell, mother of Koby Mandell, a 13-year-old American boy who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist near their West Bank home in 2001. “Everyone is fed up.”
Koby Mandell’s little sister, Eliana, told the JT, “The loss I feel is not that he was murdered, it is more of what could have been. Because he was murdered he won’t be at my wedding. He won’t be at my graduation. I am older than my oldest brother now. That does not go away no matter how many years. It just gets worse.”
Similarly, Avi Bromberg, whose uncle, Israel Defense Forces Sgt. Avraham Bromberg, died in 1980 at the age of 20, four days after being attacked on his way home from a Golan Heights base by Arab terrorists, said he cannot excuse the government’s decision, and he does not believe it will bring peace.
“I think … the chance for peace is small,” he told the JT. “The minute Abu Mazen comes with requests like this, it closes the door to peace. Peace comes when the two sides come together without pressure, when they sit and talk. There should be no release of murderers. Murderers belong in jail.”
Bromberg said he finds Kerry’s pressing for this release hypocritical and asked if the same thing could happen in the United States.
American-Israeli Shlomo Katz posted on Facebook an image of the faces of many of those Israelis murdered in the last decades whose killers stand to be set free. He spoke with the JT and said he thinks the hypocrisy is reaching “unheard-of levels.”
“Who could demand such an insane request from Am Yisrael?” he asked. “Hundreds of families had to suffer the excruciating pain of burying their beloved parents, grandparents, siblings, children and loved ones. Today, they have to not only relive the painful horror of murder, but begin to wonder what was it that their loved ones gave their lives for in the first place.”
Katz said the fact that the government made the choice to move forward despite the public’s cry makes him feel that the community’s voices are not heard.
“At a certain point,” said Katz, “You start to give up on a belief in the strength of your voice.”
See also, At Peace.