TEL AVIV (Jul. 17)
The grieving family of Zalman Shlein, an Israeli businessman murdered by Arabs last Friday, appealed to the police Sunday to prevent right-wing extremists from exploiting their tragedy.
Specifically, the family asked that Rabbi Meir Kahane and his followers in the anti-Arab Kach movement be kept from joining a demonstration of mourners Sunday night or entering their home in Gan Yavne, near Ashdod.
More than 1,000 relatives, friends and neighbors of the family marched 500 yards from the Shlein home to a building site where the 64-year-old subcontractor was knifed and bludgeoned to death Friday morning by two Arab teen-agers from the Gaza Strip.
Both youths were apprehended about an hour after the crime and have confessed. According to the police, the murder was an initiation rite for joining a terrorist organization.
The Shleins were described as popular in town and “liberal” in their political outlook. The elder Shlein and his son, Arik, who was in the family business, had been on good terms with their Arab employees.
Arik appeared in a television interview Sunday to complain about the police. Although they swiftly solved the murder, they let it be known originally that the motive may have been money.
Only later did the police confirm that Zalman Shlein was another victim of the Palestinian uprising.
“The police and government leaders had no right to try to calm tempers by turning attention away from the nationalistic intifada motive for this murder,” the son said.
There were cries of “death to Arabs” at Shlein’s funeral Friday. But the Sunday night mourners were relatively quiet and orderly.
Tempers flared, however, when Rehavam Ze’evi, a retired general who heads the far rightwing party Moledet exhorted the crowd to force the government to take action.
“This government is responsible for this murder,” he shouted. “We will have peace only when all the Arabs are gone from here.”
Ze’evi advocates the mass deportation of Arabs from Israel and the territories it administers as part of a negotiated peace settlement.
Meanwhile, police established Monday that arsonists were responsible for a fire Sunday night in an abandoned building on the outskirts of Gan Yavne. It was used as a shelter by Arabs from the Gaza Strip who worked in town.