Arab terrorist Maher Younis, Israel’s longest-serving security prisoner, was released from jail on Thursday morning.
Maher and his cousin Karim Younis, both of whom are Israeli citizens, murdered Israel Defense Forces Cpl. Avraham Bromberg in the Golan Heights in 1980. Both Karim and Maher Younis were sentenced to life in prison in 1983, but had their sentence commuted to 40 years in 2012 by then-Israeli President Shimon Peres.
“I’ve instructed the police to act resolutely and decisively against any acts that support terrorism such as we saw last week in the village of ‘Ara,” said Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. “Following a legal hearing held in the ministry, all the participants agreed that the raising of terrorist flags, praising terrorists as heroes, and promoting murderers are illegal measures and police have been instructed to prevent them and, should they be breached, to stop them immediately.”
Earlier this month, Karim Younis received a hero’s welcome in the northern village of ’Ara upon his release from prison. He then visited his mother’s grave, stating, “I am prepared to sacrifice another 40 years for the freedom of our people. My consolation is that today prisoners are united against the barbarity of the occupation.”
Ben-Gvir on Tuesday called Maher Younis’s prospective release “a test of our sovereignty,” adding, “We must in no way allow the serious offenses of encouraging and supporting terrorism anywhere in the State of Israel.”
In a statement, Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai vowed to prevent a repeat.
“We will not allow the law to be violated during the release of the terrorist [Maher Younis]. I spoke a few days ago with a relative of the late Avraham Bromberg and assured him that we will not allow any [public displays of] support or sympathy [for Maher],” said Shabtai.
A large police presence was deployed to ‘Ara ahead of Maher Younis’s release, and his family was told to not set up a visitor’s tent in their house.
After arriving in ‘Ara on Thursday, Younis called for the “unification of all Palestinian factions because security prisoners are suffering,” the Kan public broadcaster reported.
“Together we may succeed. This is a difficult political period and we need to fight intelligently,” he said. “We are a nation of heroes. We do not surrender. The [Israeli] state asked us not to celebrate. Regards to all the members of the prisoners’ families. I hope they will be released soon.”
Following the festivities for Karim Younis, Ben-Gvir ordered Shabtai to open a probe into what he views as internal failures.
“[These] are celebrations of incitement and explicit support for terrorism, and it’s unacceptable for such events to happen in our home. The State of Israel has no place for [them],” Ben-Gvir said at the time.
“I will do everything in my power to prevent these occurrences until a law is passed on implementing the death penalty for terrorists,” he added.