Son of terror victim goes to police after Nazareth honors father’s killer
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Son of terror victim goes to police after Nazareth honors father’s killer

Micah Avni asks for investigations into the city’s mayor and organizers over municipal event honoring Jerusalem man who shot up bus, killing three

Richard Lakin (left) reads a book to his granddaughter, as his son Micah Avni looks on. January 2014. (Courtesy)
Richard Lakin (left) reads a book to his granddaughter, as his son Micah Avni looks on. January 2014. (Courtesy)

The son of a terror victim asked the police on Sunday to open a criminal investigation into the mayor of Nazareth, following a recent event in the city backed by the municipality that celebrated his father’s murderer.

On December 10, Nazareth, the largest Arab-majority city in Israel, held its “Nazareth reads” event, which saw hundreds of children sit and read in a line that stretched from the plaza of the Spring Square within Nazareth’s old city to the Church of the Annunciation, according to Palestinian Media Watch, which first reported the event in English.

The event honored Palestinian terrorist Baha Alyan, one of two men who attacked a bus in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood on October 13, 2015, shooting and stabbing passengers. Police who arrived at the scene shot and killed Alyan. The other attacker, Bilal Abu Ghanem, was shot and injured and taken into police custody.

Among the three killed as a result of the attack was peace activist and educator Richard Lakin.

Nazareth mayor Ali Salam appears at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, January 30, 2014 (Flash90)
Nazareth mayor Ali Salam appears at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, January 30, 2014 (Flash90)

His son, Micah Avni, wrote to Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh on Sunday, asking for a criminal probe to be opened into Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam, “in light the offenses of sedition, incitement to terrorism, unlawful assembly, a breach of trust and illegal use of public funds, and in light of the serious blow to the feelings of the public and respect of the state.”

Avni also asked the police to probe the event’s organizers, including those who worked on behalf of the municipality, and Saeb Masawrah, a local Nazarene from the Inma’a Association for Democracy and Capacity Building who spearheaded the project.

In March 2014, Aylan had organized a human-reading chain event around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, which was attended by thousands of people, the Palestinian News Agency Ma’an reported.

The scene of a bus attack in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood on October 13, 2015, (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The scene of a bus attack in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood on October 13, 2015, (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

 

Masawrah, who came up with the idea for the human reading chain in his city, told the Arab-Israeli news site Arab48, “We saw fit to establish the largest and longest chain of readers in the city of Nazareth as a completion of the message of Martyr Baha Alyan, who came out of Jerusalem. We are gathering here in order to emphasize our unity as Arabs everywhere, and we will complete the message in all of the Arab cities and villages,” according to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch.

Palestinian students in Birzeit University near Ramallah held a similar human reading-chain event in February in honor of Aylan.

Aylan has already been honored in Palestinian schools and by the Palestinian scouts.

Avni has spearheaded a campaign to stamp out Palestinians glorying his father’s murderer as well as incitement toward violence on social media.

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