Convicted Jewish Underground Members Transferred from Prison to ‘yeshiva’

Minister of Public Security Haim Barlev is defending the transfer of two convicted members of the terrorist Jewish underground from prison to the prison system’s “rehabilitation yeshiva” in Afula.

Knesset member Mordechai Virshubski of the Citizens Rights Movement had complained to Barlev that the transfer of Yitzhak Ganiram, serving six-year-and-nine-months’ prison term, and Yehuda Etzion, serving a seven-year sentence, indicated that they were getting preferential treatment. Virshubski demanded that the two be returned to prison.

Barlev said “The underground prisoners have been treated just like any other prisoners. The prisons’ commission is not required to go beyond the terms of the punishment prescribed by the court.”

They had both completed more than a quarter of their sentences and thus, after meeting criteria set by the rehabilitations committee, were eligible for the rehabilitation program, Barlev said. The Minister said he would be willing to grant the same privileges to eligible Moslem and Christian prisoners, if similar religious seminaries were opened in Israel.

Ganiram and Etzion, who were jailed in April 1984, are now serving the remainder of their sentences together with 15 other convicts at the Afula Yeshiva, from where they are taken to work at various locations. They also receive weekend leave.

The inmates are taught by Rabbi David Grossman, of Migdal Haemek, and are supervised by a prison commission official.

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