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Yona Avrushmi, who threw a grenade into a 1983 Peace Now rally, killing Emil Grunzweig, a founder of Peace Now, and wounding nine others, was granted parole and released from Rimonim Prison on this date in 2011. Avrushmi was convicted of murder and received a life sentence, but in 1995, President Ezer Weizman inexplicably commuted his sentence to twenty-seven years. In 2002, Avrushmi’s sentence was further reduced, but the reduction was revoked when a drug test showed Ecstasy in his urine on his return from a furlough. The rally that Avrushmi attacked involved some 200,000 Israelis who were demanding implementation of the Kahan Commission report regarding the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon, in which Ariel Sharon was complicit. Avrushmi’s crime, said Supreme Court Justice Miriam Ben-Porat, was “an extreme example of the blind hatred that can accompany disputes between political movements, strong enough to serve as a motive for murder of a person whom the murderer does not even know, only because that person stood among the members of the movement [the murderer] hates.” According to Niva Grunzweig, Emil’s daughter, “The reason the State of Israel did not try to expose why this act of terror happened is that the act was done under its authority: the State encourages rightists to act against leftists. . . . On the one hand it denounces acts of political violence . . . But in practice it encourages them to continue such behavior by casting a blind eye and exacting minimal punishment for them.” To read more of her comments, click here.
“I killed the Israeli left.” --Yona Avrushmi
Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.