Love your enemy, said Jesus. Israel seems to have taken that piece of divine advice and run with it.
It’s never nice to go to prison. But in Israel’s jails even the most blood-soaked Hamas killer can comfortably hang out with friends and better himself by earning a college degree.
Israel’s often shocking leniency toward Arab terrorists was again on display this week, and again ruffling Jewish feathers.
In May of 2021, Gaza’s terrorist overlords went to war against Israel. But this time they tried a new tactic. Alongside the thousands of rockets they fired into the Jewish state, they also urged the local Arab population to rise up and kill Jews.
A worrying number of Israeli Arabs answered the Hamas call, and street violence rapidly spread through the country’s mixed Jewish-Arab cities.
One of those cities was Acre (Akko in Hebrew), where on the evening of May 12 a mob of local Muslim youth nearly beat a Jewish man to death. Mor Ganashvili is still alive today thanks only to the actions of a sensible local Arab man who intervened and pulled him to safety.
While video footage of the gruesome attack was abundant and shared widely on social media, only a few of the perpetrators were ever identified and arrested.
Of those who tried to lynch Ganashvili, all have either now been released or given favorable jail terms, despite their documented attempted murder.
The last of the group to receive his sentence was Adham Bashir. Just this week, almost exactly one year to the date that he and others tried to kill Ganashvili in cold blood, an Israeli judge determined that Bashir shouldn’t suffer too greatly for his crime.
Judge Nitzan Silman of the Haifa District Court ruled that four times a week for a period of two hours each time, Bashir will be released from prison to “refresh himself” with the aim of “relieving his stress.”
Excusing, if not justifying terror
In explaining his decision, Judge Silman wrote, “It cannot be ignored that the events [the attempted murder] took place against the background of a military operation during a holiday period.”
May 12 was the last day of Ramadan in 2021.
Translation: While it’s still illegal to physically harm someone else, Muslim violence committed during a Muslim holiday is understandable if the Muslims in question were sufficiently provoked.
What a disgrace!
Hebrew-language social media exploded over this ruling, with a number of commentators warning that it will only encourage future Arab violence against Israel’s Jews.
Among those responding to the shocking legal decision was journalist Yair Kraus, who after tweeting his outrage was contacted by Ganashvili.
שופט המחוזי בחיפה ניצן סילמן הורה על שחרורו של אדהם באשיר (שהורשע בהשתתפות בלינצ’ הקשה במור ג’אנשוילי) למשך שעתיים, 4 פעמים בשבוע, לצורך ‘התרעננות’ ולשם ‘הקלת לחץ נפשי’. בהחלטתו הסביר כי “לא ניתן להתעלם מכך שהאירועים התרחשו על רקע מבצע צבאי בתקופת חג” וכי>> pic.twitter.com/PZKSxvo8vd
— יאיר קראוס (@yair_kraus) May 11, 2022
Still undergoing a lengthy process of recovery and rehabilitation, Ganashvili simply couldn’t believe that his would-be killers have all gotten off so light.
“Disgraceful!” Ganashvili wrote to Kraus in remarks he approved being published on social media in hopes of pressuring Israel’s overly-merciful legal system.
“Once again the morality of the enemy is linked to his mental state in the moment and his actions are deemed a reaction to a military operation,” he continued. “The court is considering the morality of the enemy ahead of its own people, who become victims.”
Ganashvili recalled that he was present at every court hearing, “and the judge looked me right in the eye and still made this disgraceful ruling for the sake of not putting undo strain on the terrorist.”
Taking it too far
While it’s admirable that Israel is often “more Christian than the Church” in loving its enemies, the attitude reflected in Judge Silman’s ruling certainly goes far beyond the spirit of Jesus’ command.
For more on this important topic, see: Love Your Enemies? I’m Not So Sure