Israel allows mourning of yeshiva butcher, Jordan doesn't

Sunday, March 09, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday consulted with legal advisers regarding the possibility of forcibly tearing down a mourning tent erected at the weekend at the eastern Jerusalem home of the Israeli Arab who carried out last Thursday's massacre at a prominent yeshiva in the capital.

Following the slaughter of eight young men and the wounding of at least 11 others in a brutal shooting spree at the Merkaz Harav yeshiva, the family of the killer, who was himself shot and killed by an Israeli army officer, set up a large mourning tent at their home, which was promptly adorned with Hamas and Hizballah flags.

Palestinian sources confirmed on Sunday that Hamas and Hizballah jointly planned and funded the attack.

Police later ordered the family to remove the terrorist flags, but insisted they had no authority to tear down the mourning tent where the killer was being openly hailed as a martyr and a hero.

That angered many Israelis, who noted that in neighboring Jordan, security officials prevented members of the killers family there from ever setting up a mourning tent.

A right-wing Israeli group warned that if the government and police did not tear down the tent, members of the group and other angered Israelis would do the job themselves. Six members of the Jewish Front group were detained by police on Sunday as they approached the mourning tent in eastern Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that the time had come for Israel's Arabs to decide if they are loyal to the state or to the enemies of Israel.

Many Arabs serve in the Israeli army and even express pride in their Israeli citizenship. However, a far larger portion of the Israeli Arab public is openly hostile to the state, and is encouraged in that hostility by most of the Arab members of Israel's Knesset.

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