Nadia Matar, chairman of the right-wing movement "Women in Green" who is standing trial for calling the outgoing Disengagement Authority Chairman Yonatan Bassi "a Judenrat" refuses to apologize.
"We can't be intimidated, we can't be silenced. I don't take back any word I wrote to Yonatan Bassi, on the contrary – only now we're witnessing how much grief this man, along with other expulsion criminals, has caused the Israeli people, especially to our expelled brethren," Matar said.
Matar, whose trial opened on Wednesday, is charged with insulting a public servant.
"With everything that is happening to Sderot and to all Israelis, the word 'Judenrat' is even too mild," Matar stated upon entering the Magistrate Court in Jerusalem. "No one has come up with the right word to describe the monstrosity of Jews who inflict so much damage on other Jews. Words like kapo, traitor, or collaborator are also too mild."
'Judenrat too mild for Bassi'
In a fax sent to Bassi last September, Matar wrote:" All your statements will not help you, Yonatan, the truth is that you are a modern version of the Judenrat, or actually - a worse version, because back in the Holocaust, those Jewish leaders were forced by Nazis to do what they did, and it's very difficult for us to judge them today. Today no one is pointing a gun to your head and forcing you to cooperate".
Protest against Disengagement Authority outside court (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The letter, first published by Ynet, stirred controversy and anger across the political spectrum, eventually leading to Matar's trial.
Some 100 right-wing activists protested outside the court Wednesday carrying signs with Bassi's photo reading: "Transfer Authority Director", "Limitation on Incitement", and "Mazuz, where is the freedom of speech?"
Noble Prize laureate Prof. Yuval Ne'eman also arrived at the place to "support Nadia, who is being persecuted for her expressing her views".
Aumann: Freedom of speech oppressed
"I read the letter, I would not have written such a letter, it's harsh and in bad taste, but between that and being a criminal, democracy puts a much bigger gap," said Noble Prize laureate Prof. Yisrael Aumann, who only yesterday praised the soldier Hananel Dayan for his refusal to shake hands with IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz due to his opposition to the disengagement.
"It is scandalous. Freedom of speech is oppressed, just like in the cases of the soldier Hananel, the closing of channel 7, and the hearing that was held for Rabbi Druckman. This is singling out individuals who express their views," said Prof. Aumann.
Matar's attorney, Yoram Sheftel, claimed that "the State Prosecution is becoming a pillar of the Leftist camp. There must be a public reaction for this selection exercised by the Prosecution in putting people on trial for their political views."
The judge in the trial, David Mintz, was also skeptic about the case's validity, and suggested that the indictment may need to be revoked. The Prosecution, on its part, said it would consider the Judge's proposal and return an answer soon.