Last updated: 14 October, 2011

Man defaces Rabin memorial over Shalit deal

A memorial to Israel’s slain premier Yitzhak Rabin was vandalised overnight by a man who was angered by a prisoner swap deal to secure the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, police said on Friday.

The memorial in Tel Aviv was splattered with white paint and two slogans reading “Price tag” and “Free Yigal Amir” were spray-painted on it, a reference to the man who gunned down the late premier at a peace rally in 1995.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said they had briefly detained a man with “mental health issues” who was arrested at the scene by a municipal guard but he was later released and barred from returning to the city for two weeks.

She said the 27-year-old suspect told investigators he was “acting for ideological reasons, but that he had mental health issues.”

Israeli press reports named the man as Shvuel Schijveschuurder and said he had lost his parents and three younger siblings in the bombing of a pizzeria in Jerusalem in August 2001.

Police inquiries confirmed that the man had lost his parents and three siblings during the attack, and said those responsible were likely to be released as part of the prisoner swap deal inked earlier this week between Israel and Hamas.

The deal will see Shalit freed in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, including an unspecified number who were responsible for anti-Israeli attacks.

An unofficial list of names appeared on several Gaza websites late on Thursday, but the official version is expected to be published on the website of Israel Prisons Service on Saturday night or Sunday morning.

The incident follows a series of vandalism attacks, mostly against Arab targets, in which the perpetrators used the slogan “price tag” — a euphemism for acts of vengeance by extremist Jews against Palestinians or Arabs.