Monday, November 16, 2009

Israel's first political assassination attempt.

Long before Yigal Amir was even born, Israel's first political assassination attempt took place Friday, June 20, 1952.

The target: Israel's Transportation Minister, MK David Zvi Pinkas. Pinkas was one of the leaders of the religious Zionist Mizrahi movement, and served on the board of its newspaper, Hatzofeh.

The Motive: In October 1951, when he became transportation minister, Israel was suffering a severe gasoline shortage. He therefore declared that every car would have to be idle two days a week - on Shabbat, and on another day of the driver's choice. This decree caused a huge outcry.

The Venue: A few months later, on the night of Friday, June 20, 1952, a bomb was thrown at the balcony of Pinkas' Tel Aviv house.

It failed to explode, but the subsequent round-the-clock police protection he was given did not prevent another bomb from being planted on his doorstep a day later. That bomb did explode, causing property damage but no casualties.

The Assassin: Ha'aretz (and later, Yediot Achronot) newspaper columnist, painter, sculptor, and award-winning playwright and novelist, Hashomer Hatzair-educated secular socialist, Amos Kenan.

Haaretz fills in the blanks:
"The bomb went off just as two policemen were moving to intercept Kenan and another man, Shaltiel Ben-Yair, whom they had spotted entering Pinkas' apartment building. Kenan and Ben-Yair were arrested. At his trial, Kenan said he had been at the Haaretz office that night and received a tip that something was going to happen at the minister's house at 1:30 A.M.

He and Ben-Yair went to the house, but when nothing happened, they left - and as they were leaving, the bomb exploded.

The Tel Aviv District Court cleared the two men completely, saying it did not find the policemen's testimony credible. The Supreme Court later upheld the acquittal due to reasonable doubt.

Two months after the bombing, however, Pinkas, then 57, died of a heart attack. His widow claimed the attack was brought on by the assassination attempts.

The case rested until last year, when Kenan's wife, Nurit Gertz, published a biography of him in which she wrote that he had obtained the explosives from Yaakov Heruti. In a subsequent interview with Haaretz's Yossi Melman, she confirmed this account.
Reasonable doubt.

His conscious never seemed to bother him (or anyone) that much, as he continued writing books, articles, award-winning movies and founding a political party with Arik Sharon.

Do you think a religious person, accused of attempting to murder a government minister over a religious/political issue, could get a fair trail, could get acquitted due to "reasonable doubt", and then go on to win awards and fame?

Actually, this isn't even hypothetical -- we have an example of such a person, accused of conspiring to murder (or failure to prevent the murder) of Israel's Prime Minister, yet this person wasn't acquitted due to reasonable doubt, this person served jail time, and this person has been ostracized by the left, the media, and most of Israel. Despite the head of the Shin-Bet admitting that this person had absolutely zero to do with Rabin's murder.

Her name is Margalit Har Shefi.

If only she was a columnist for Haaretz or Yediot Achronot...she might have had a chance.

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Anonymous said...

ben chorin kind of scooped this months ago.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

anon: yeah, but Haaretz just printed it today. (Hagai Segal's been talking alot about it as well).

N said...

Interesting spot, but it's not exactly surprising that religious people will be more closely scrutinised though oddly the opposite was the case with the murderer in the US base the other day...

Renegade said...

@ N:

it all depends what religion you follow...

The back of the hill said...

Okay, I guess Jacob Israel DeHaan doesn't count.

Great poet. Great Jew. Great homosexual. Greatly flaming.

Unfortunately, not exactly a Zionist of the traditional type.

Greystoke said...

and what about "haKadosh" Itchy Rabin who murdered scores on the altalena in cooperation with ben-Gurion, shem reshoim yerokev. the powerful people are always in control of how history is interpreted and portryed.

not to worry though, keep up the good cheer, we are a long way from 1952, have seen the rise of Begin, the crumbling of the Labor party etc. sharett and co. are roasting in their graves while being turned on the spit. heh heh.

Now the right wing is reported to be in a position to get 75 Knesset seats.

See Brieshis 50:20 and Ramchal in begining Da'as Tevunos who expands on this posuk/theme.

Yesh Din v'Yesh dayan. Keep up good cheer. Evil is allowed to fourish and make a big shthink making an impression of possesing inherent reality for a while. But in the End everything will work out just fine. we are almost there, BTW.

autocar said...

thanks for sharing.

rockofgalilee said...

Was Gedalya forgotten about??

dianasam said...

Is Har Shefi still in jail? Was there a groundswell to protest her sentence?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Dianasam: Har Shefi's not in jail anymore - but her life is ruined. She was expelled from Bar Ilan University as a result of the trumped up charges.

She can't ever be a lawyer (she was studying law), because she has been convicted of a serious crime (even though the Shabak admitted she did absolutely nothing and was a political pawn)

There wasn't that much groundswell protest at the time, because of the universal witch hunt going on -- anyone who opened their mouth got a personal visit from the shabak...

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