JERUSALEM (Mar. 29)
President Chaim Herzog came under fire from both the Israeli left and right Sunday after commuting the life sentences of three members of a Jewish underground to a maximum of 24 years in prison.
Haim Kaufman, chairman of the Likud Knesset faction, said that while he welcomed the President’s move on Friday, the three should be pardoned immediately. The Citizens Rights Movement (CRM), at the opposite side of the political spectrum, said it would fight against pardons for members of the underground by every legal, parliamentary and public means.
The three prisoners, Menahem Livni, Shaul Nir an Uzi Sharabaf, were sentenced to life terms for the machinegun attack on the Islamic College in Hebron seven years ago in which three students were killed.
Former President Ephraim Katzir was critical of his successor. In an interview published in Haaretz Sunday, Katzir expressed concern that some people might misinterpret the President’s decision as forgiveness of Israelis who commit crimes against Arabs. The President should not have dealt with the prisoners’ thoughts or motives but rather with the terrible results of their deeds, Katzir said.