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Police Intensify Probe of Grenade Attack Against Peace Now Group

February 14, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Police intensified their investigation this weekend of the grenade attack on a group of Peace Now demonstrators opposite the Prime Minister’s office last Thursday night while the Cabinet was meeting to accept the full report and recommendations of the commission of inquiry into the Beirut massacre. One man was killed and nine others injured.

The man killed in the attack, which reports today said was well planned and coordinated by an unknown group, was identified as Emil Grunzweig, a 33-year-old immigrant from Czechoslovakia and mathematics teacher at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Thousands attended his funeral Friday.

Five others were hospitalized, including Avraham Burg, son of Interior Minister Yosef Burg, a leading Peace Now activist. One demonstrator, Yehoshua Shkedi, a 26-year-old student, was seriously wounded and operated on for eight hours by doctors at the Hadassah Medical Center, He was reported in stable condition. Three others remained hospitalized today with minor injuries.


Meanwhile, police this weekend attempted to piece together the events leading to the attack. Authorities found the safety catch of the Israeli-made grenade and the cardboard wrapping in which it was stored The grenade was hidden in a hollow electricity pole which was lying in the area of the demonstrators.

The remains of the grenade were found on a hill across the street from the Premier’s office, some 300 meters northeast of the building. The hill served the pro-government demonstrators whereas the Peace Now group demonstrated at the foot of the hill closer to the street. According to eye-witnesses, a shout was heard “Now,” and then the explosion followed.

This is one of the indications which have led police to the assumption, that the attack was not a one-man initiative, but rather the work of several people. A special investigation team has been established and is now trying to locate an unidentified man who was threatening the demonstrators and others who did likewise.

According to one witness to the attack, a tall unidentified man followed the Peace Now demonstrators on their way from downtown Jerusalem to the Premier’s office, threatening the demonstrators that this was “their last day.” At one stage, this man told Grunzweig: “I will pee on your grave — you will pay for the death of my brother in Lebanon.” According to this eye-witness, the man held a suspicious object in his hand.

The news director of Maariv said on Friday he received a telephone call from a man who identified himself as a lecturer at the Hebrew University and said he had been the person who gave the order to throw the grenade. Maariv reported that the man, who sounded quiet, controlled and articulate, said the target of the grenade was Gen. (res.) Mati Peled who last month met with PLO chief Yasir Arafat, But in his absence from the demonstration, the grenade was aimed at Avraham Burg.

Police also interrogated Rabbi Meir Kahane, leader of the ultra-nationalist Kach movement, and said he was asked to supply the names of his followers who participated in the pro-government demonstration Kahane denied any responsibility for the attack, condemned such “crimes, ” but said that the Peace Now movement and other leftist movements should be fought because they stab the nation “in the heart and in the back.”


Labor Alighment MK Yair Tzaban meanwhile demanded that Interior Minister Burg order an investigation of the conduct of the police during the fatal Peace Now demonstration. He argued that evidence pointed to the fact that police may not have done enough to protect the demonstrators. Tzaban accused the police of acting leniently toward the antagonistic bystanders who threatened the demonstrators.

At Grunzweig’s funeral Friday, angry shouts erupted from the crowd when Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren sought to speak, The shouts, directed at him and against Premier Menachem Begin, were halted at the expressed wish of the family. The only eulogy delivered was a by a fellow professor, Yehuda Elkana, of the Van Leer Institute.

Deputy Premier David Levy, who represented the Cabinet at the funeral, told reporters that attacks as that which occurred during the Peace Now demonstration should be “rooted out. Everybody has the right to express his own opinions.” Many Knesset members joined with the hundreds of Peace Now members and sympathizers at the funeral.

Meanwhile, across the street from the Prime Minister’s office. Peace Now members are maintaining a round-the-clock vigil for seven days at the spot where the grenade took the life of Grunzweig.

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