The meaning of the word ‘terrorist’ has been subject to a great deal of scrutiny on both normative and descriptive levels. Recently, the Israeli Ministry of Defense declared that Zada, murderer of 4 Israeli Arabs on a bus weeks ago, was not a terrorist. Israeli law demands that one is only a terrorist if one is part of “enemy forces”. Since Zada was Jewish, it i s hard to construe him a part of an enemy force. By Israeli law, therefore, he fails to qualify as a terrorist. It follows from there that his victims are not victims of terror and hence not subject to special compensation.

Sound fishy to you? It certainly does to MK Mohammad Barakeh. Barakeh (re) submitted a petition to make the definition more inclusive:

The decision raises a strong scent of racism, which distinguishes between a Jewish terrorist and an Arab terrorist.

It is noteworthy in this regard that Sharon was happy to use the T-word after Zada’s attack.

The amendment was first proposed in 1990 after Ami Popper shot 7 Palestinians at a bus stop in Rishon Letzion. Muffti thought this was sort of interesting since while the debate has traditionally focussed on the ‘freedom fighter’/’terrorist’ dichotomy. In this case, however, it is more of a ‘murderer’/’terrorist’ distinction that is at issue. But Muffti is happy to turn the floor to you guys as he is sure opinions will come fast and furious.

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