Israeli forces dismantle shrine to Hebron killer

Many see Goldstein only as a crazed killer. But friends and family say he was a compassionate physician, and some say his deed was an attempt to prevent a potential massacre of Jews

During the dismantling, a violent confrontation broke out between a few hundred settlers and the security forces. As a result, police placed guards at the gravesite of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl and at his memorial site in Tel Aviv's Kikar Rabin.

Settlers jeered at the security personnel, and other protesters lay across the grave or on the ground seeking to disrupt the work.

"After this, don't be surprised if something happens to Rabin's grave," Kach activist Noam Federman warned at the site.

Others cried out: "Protest Rabin's grave as well!" and "We will not forgive or forget!"

Three settlers, one a minor, were detained for questioning after they scuffled with police and threatened them. A television cameraman was detained after he pushed a friend of the Goldstein family whom police had permitted to enter the site.

When the work began, Goldstein's father, Yisrael Goldstein, lay face down on the tombstone and wept.

"This is a shame," he said. "Our enemies are laughing at us now. What a people we have become. How much longer can [Baruch] continue to suffer?"

In June 1998, the Knesset passed a law introduced by Knesset member Ran Cohen of the Meretz Party, preventing the setting up of tombstones on the graves of terrorists.

In November, the Supreme Court ordered the Israel Defense Force to remove the shrine but deferred for six months a ruling regarding the epitaph referring to Goldstein as a "martyr" and "hero."

Last week, Cohen said he was satisfied that the work was being done but that the inscription must still be removed.