The family of Danny Gonen, the Israeli hiker murdered by terrorists last month north of Jerusalem, have welcomed the arrest of his murderer and several accomplices, and called to apply the death penalty against the lead terrorist.
Gonen's cousin Rabbi Itzik Gonen, the rabbi of a pre-IDF academy in Lod, told Arutz Sheva on Friday that the fact that one the terrorists involved had previously been arrested for terrorism and released should send warning signs – the terrorist leader was revealed to be on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"How can it be that people who dealt in terror did not face a punishment strong enough to deter them," posed Rabbi Gonen. "It hurts the family that a person who was involved and active in terror was released and murdered Danny, it shows the weakness and powerlessness of the state of Israel against murderers."
As noted by the bereaved family member, one of those involved in the murder previously was among the 1,027 terrorists released in the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal.
The rabbi demanded that "justice must come to light. We are happy that they caught the lowly murderers and if need be we will stand against them and speak out (in court). The family reasons that any Jewish blood that is spilled must have a severe penalty, Jewish blood is not abandoned."
"A terrorist that intentionally murdered – the death penalty is the simple statement," he said.
Israel has a death penalty on the law books, but it has only been implemented once in 1962 against Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann. Ironically a vote was held just this Wednesday on applying the death penalty to terrorists, but the Knesset overwhelmingly voted against it 94-6; in a sign of nationalist division Yisrael Beytenu proposed the bill, but Likud and Jewish Home were among those opposing it.
Describing the horrific murder that occurred near a spring in the Binyamin region of Samaria, Rabbi Gonen said the "terrorist surveyed the spring and planned the act."
"Jews came to tour the spring on Friday and these lowly murderers manipulated Danny's desire to help them," he said, noting how the terrorist asked for water so as to get within point-blank range before opening fire. "He wanted to act with kindness, and they came to destroy him. The terrorist asked for help, Danny came to help and they murdered him."
The rabbi said that it was important to Danny Gonen's family that his murder not be in vain.
"Danny has four brothers and a mother, and the message of the family is to continue Danny's good, while at the same time giving a message of resoluteness against the terrorists. We will establish a Talmud Torah (religious school), a kindergarten and charity building, in his name in Lod, and likewise it's important to us that a neighborhood be established in his memory."
"It is important to the family that Danny's name not be in vain, he was murdered when he went to tour the land of Israel, like any normal person, and they did something abnormal," concluded the rabbi. "We need to continue to live normal lives in the land of Israel, and for the blood of every Jew that is spilled they need to build a neighborhood in the land of Israel."