What is the price for taking a life in the State of
Israel? On the surface, this seems a strange question. There
is no price for human life.
Nonetheless, the Israeli judicial system frequently
has to study this question and to decide what punishment to
impose on one who has taken a life. The Israeli law knows no
compromises. The court isn't authorized in most of the cases
to impose less than a life-sentence.
However, the definition of the world "life" is quite
It is dependent on many details, beginning with the
question of "who is the murderer?" It ends with the question
of "who has been murdered?" In between, the question of the
extent of the power of the lobby which is active on one side
or another, and, no less important, the question of the
extent to which the media uses its influence in order to
extend or reduce the punishment, as it sees fit.
Recently, the sentence of Yoram Skolnik, who is
serving a life term in prison, after having shot a handcuffed
terrorist to death, came under review. The terrorist, who was
on his way to hurl a grenade at a school bus from one of the
settlements was captured after he had stabbed a Jew who was
suspicious of him.
Skolnik, the security coordinator of a nearby
settlement, heard on his walkie talkie about the capture of
the terrorist, arrived on the site and saw himhandcuffed. He
then raised his gun and shot him to death. For this he was
sentenced to life in prison.
Later, his sentence was reduced to 15 years, and then
The Parole Board discussed Skolnik's request to be
released after having served two-thirds of his prison term,
in other words after seven years, and decided to answer it
In reaction, a number of Meretz-niks appealed to the
High Court to cancel the Board's decision. "It's a very bad
message for the public, about the cheapeness of human life,"
the petitioners said in their appeal to the High
The release of a person sentenced for murder, after
seven years in prison is liable to cause damage to Israeli
society, they claimed. The state prosecution joined the
petition, and claimed that the decision of the Parole Board
is unreasonable in the extreme.
The media, as expected, also criticized the decision,
and came out with a huge headline and critical articles
against Skolnik's early release. The court of course accepted
the petition and annuled the Board's dcision.
We wouldn't have mentioned the Skolnik case, if a cold-
blooded criminal had not been released last week from prison
after two thirds of her sentence had been
That criminal, a well known public figure, was accused
of the murder of an innocent woman, whose only fault was that
she had money. The criminal was sentenced to life in prison,
and later on her sentence was reduced to 20 years.
The Parole Board decided to deduct a third of her
sentence for her good behavior, and to release her after only
The Israeli media refused to raise a commotion about
this early release. It did not criticize the fact that a
woman who had committed so shocking an act in cold blood,
only out of the desire for money, was being
The state prosecution did not appeal to the High Court
on the claim that the decision was unreasonable. In brief:
she did not murder a handcuffed Arab, but only an innocent
Is a sentence of 14 years in prison a reasonable
punishment for taking the life of another human life, while a
seven year sentence is not reasonable? What is the parameter
for assessing the value of human life, and when is early
release considered rational?
Why didn't anyone say a word when only a short while
ago a cruel murderer was released after only six years in
prison, on the claim that the continuation of his punishment
was liable to endanger his health? A rather ridiculous claim
in light of the crime he committed?
In the end, it became clear that the murderer is
healthy as an ox, and that his release was the result of his
having bribed the doctor.
The daughter of the victim, who was shocked by the
release, waged a stubborn battle against it, and succeeded in
having the criminal returned to prison. But without this
struggle, the murderer would be roaming around freely,
without anyone having taken the pains to check how the Parole
Board could so disdain the value of human life.
The reason for this, of course is that the above-
mentioned murderer and murderess took the lives of innocent
Jews in cold blood, and not the lives of handcuffed Arab
That then is the standard for assessing the value of
life. If the victim is Jewish and the murderer is Jewish,
then its not so terrible if he's released earlier (unless the
victim was a Prime Minster.)
If the murderer is an Arab terrorist, and the victim a
Jew, then according to certain circles, he should be released
immediately, as part of the price of peace with our
But if the murderer is a Jew and the victim an Arab,
even an Arab terrorist, then the price of the spilled blood
is very high.
The entire Leftist camp will mobilize in order to
condemn the early release. The fact that very near us, scores
of murderers of Jews are roaming around freely, some who
actually hold top ranking positions in the Palestinian
Authority, and others who have emerged through the "revolving
doors" of the Palestinian prison, does not weigh heavily on
the tortured consciences of those highly ethical
The Leftists are more ethical. For them, human life is
more important, only if an Arab is involved, how much more
so a terrorist.
This is the double ethic of the enlightened humanistic
camp. It isn't concern for human life which motivates them,
but rather the cynical exploitation of difficult incidents
for political purposes.
As long as it can derive political gain, this camp
launches a battle under empty slogans of humanistic values.
If there is anyone who causes the cheapening of the value of
human life, it is those Leftists who prove by their deeds
that some people are worth more and some worth less.