Like Chinese water torture, we bereaved families live in fear between one prisoner release and the next. Sometimes they happen suddenly, and sometimes we have time to get used to the idea, to think, to fight and to try to overturn the harsh decree.
It seems that nothing can stand in the way of our government, which insists on being the only one in the world to release convicted murderers. The insensitivity and callousness are beyond measure -- their apathy is killing us and no one cares. Politicians are involved in their own affairs, the High Court of Justice is willing to intervene in every matter except the release of murderous prisoners, and the wider public is indifferent -- failing to understand that this is their problem too. It is their children who will pay the price.
The State of Israel, which cavalierly releases hundreds, even thousands, of prisoners, gave me nothing but the option to write a protest letter against the release of my child's murderer -- a way of covering their asses from a legal perspective; a deal concocted between the High Court of Justice and the State Prosecution. Doing the absolute minimum to fulfill their legal obligation, the attorney-general will receive a letter from the victim's family, which will be placed in the terrorist's file.
Recently, a bereaved mother seeking to place such a letter in the file of her son's murderer, an Israeli Arab who was slated for release in the upcoming goodwill gesture, discovered that the terrorist had also placed a letter in his own file. The letter explained that while in jail he had started a family and brought children into the world, and complained about not being released. Hamas takes care of its prisoners, the Palestinian Authority takes care of its own, the letter said, but this particular murderer, an Israeli Arab, had no advocate.
He demanded to be released in one of the upcoming goodwill gestures, because, compared to his fellow Palestinian murderers, he felt that he had been discriminated against. The most talented dramatist could not devise a greater theater of the absurd.
In the case of the mother, perhaps it would have been better for her not to know that the murderer had had children, and that his chances of being released by the government were good. After all, her son was murdered and will never return from his grave.
Yossi Tzur is the father of the late Assaf Tzur, who was killed in the terror attack on the 37 bus in Haifa in 2003.