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Comments (46)

(30) Anonymous, August 30, 2012 7:04 PM


The problem with the Norway judicial system is that it does not in any way teach that there are dire consequences for ones actions. It is not that I believe in an eye for an eye. It is that this society has become so violent in murdering and terrorizing people. Why does this happen so frequently in the world? Because no one suffers dire consequences for murder or terrorism. Kids grow up getting away with things that they do not learn what happens when you do these things. They also play these horrendous violent games and yes when you play and you kill you do not understand what you are doing. The next day, you start all over again with the same players. Children become immuned and grow up and kill without remorse. That needs to be taught.

(29) Steve Skeete, August 29, 2012 3:32 AM

Rehabilitation, we all win?

Originally, there was the idea that to give someone a sentence of life imprisonment was more humane than giving them the death penalty. Later it was realized just how "cruel and unusual" life imprisonment was as well, Now, there is hardly a sentence of "life behind bars anywhere" in the "civlized" world since many cannot stomach the thought of executing murderers, nor fathom the idea of someone becoming old, feeble and senile and still living in a prison cell. So since both execution and life behind bars without parole were considered equally cruel "twenty-one years to life" became the new "rehabilitation" model. And what difference does it make if someone kills one person or seventy-seven? That person still needs to be rehabilitated and/or given the opportunity, in time, to rejoin polite society. Since very few people really want to die, and murderers do not mind living in "comfortable" cells, and since many no longer want to identify with "state sponsored" executions, "twenty-one years to life" is viewed as a win-win scenario.

(28) Rivka Deutsch, August 28, 2012 12:25 PM

You're way off base on this one!

First of all- you are comparing apples and oranges here. As you say - the Torah is referring to theft, not murder. So why bring it up when it is actually not relevant to this situation? Second - you assume you understand the Torah's reason for creating an "eved ivri" (jewish slave), but consider this. Only a thief who is too poor to pay the penalty becomes a slave. So what are you saying? That the Torah only wants to rehabilitate poor people? Rich people can continue to be delinquent so long as they can pay the penalty if caught? Obviously there is more to it than meets the eye..... I respect the fact that you have an opinion on this issue, but you can't bring in the Torah to back you up on this one, certainly not with the eved ivri argument.

(27) Emes, August 28, 2012 11:26 AM

justice for whom?

21 years in a one star hotel isn't puniishment! 77 families must feel they have relinqushed the last remaining gift to their loved ones in the name of 'justice.' Then again, 21 years isn't much against a life-time of hate from the entire country of Norway against Jews and Israel! Article 21 is right in its comments, my sentiments exactly and, Europe's hatred of Jews and Israel is again baying for our extinction, its in their blood, Norway is no exception in their condemnation of Israel and its products etc. as Germany says 'no' to circumcision for starters but, in this case with Norway's recent tragedies, doesn't it cross one's mind that justice does prevail from a higher court? which, I'm afraid argues the case of the above article!

Martin, August 28, 2012 5:22 PM

What on earth..

I am sorry, first he has not been sent to prison for 21 years He has been served a holding order for 21 years as this is the maximum under Norwegian law. There after he can and will be subject to five year extentions as advised by the court already, ergo he will not be a fre man again. If a life sentence meaning life behind bars is not good enough for you I am sorry for you. As to the rest of your rant I am sorry but I make no connection between the rant and this man's conviction what so ever... pehaps a clarification for your side? Or are you saying that this man's conviction is somehow coupled to your perception of anti-Semitic feelings in Europe in general and Norway in particular? If so may I recomend a good therapist.

emes, August 30, 2012 12:07 AM

Message to Mr Anti-Rant

Mr Martin alias anti-rant, first get your spelling sorted, second I cannot comprehend what you are even trying to put across, yes, I feel - no it is fact that Norway is anti-semitic, anti-Israel, but no matter how long their killer wallows in his own thwarted power, he is still a killer, thankfully off the streets and for that Mr Martin, his conviction is still no recompence for any families affected - and also, Mr Martin my concern for these families is the difference between a Jew with neshuma and a non-Jew from the majority of countries in this world, who do not give a toss when a tragedy happens in Israel, or to Jews anywhere. As for a therapist Mr Martin, I recommend you continue your treatment as your need is obviously greater than mine!

(26) Glenn, August 28, 2012 6:50 AM


This decision is the result of having too many "Good Doers" claiming it is barbaric to have the death penalty!.It is bad and evil enough when somebody deliberately and willfully murders one, but when it is 77, that is more heinous than we can imagine! This man will be looked after in good conditions, while the poor and hungry go without!. This world is becoming more and insane the further we move into the 21st Century!

Martin, August 28, 2012 10:28 AM

Go hungry?

I am sorry to inform Glenn that whilst Brievik will indeed have a comfortable, albeit insulated life there are no Norwegians (or other Scandinavians) that go hungry. You really should look up your information before making such ludicrous claims. We are not talking abot the US here. There are those that tell us to stay out of the crime system of the US and all the state sponsered killings carried out in the name of the people. At this pont we Scandinavians ask the same of you as so far I have only met one person that believes this man should be executed, and he was an English immigrant. A society can be judged by how they treat the worst members of their population.

Anonymous, August 28, 2012 7:57 PM

I am proud to be telling you that I will be the second person to tell you that this man deserves death... (stoned preferably)

Theo, August 29, 2012 1:28 AM

Sickening decision ....

I agree with Glenn, "THE WORLD IS GOING MAD!" and God help us!

(25) Jacky, August 27, 2012 11:44 PM

Progressive Judaism

It always amazes me when the Torah is criticized as being "antiquated" and "regressive." But here we see a Torah concept in line with the current "progressive" agenda. So what will those critics say now?

(24) JP, August 27, 2012 8:48 PM

I haven't read the full article, just scanned, but nothing really caught my attention....I don't know what the people are going on about the sentence being too short and this and that...According to Torah, it's real simple, as are all of God's commandments...Guilty of murder (by two or more witnesses) = death....simple. But the democratic system is almost the opposite of Torah. As we can see by the sentence given...

Rivka Deutsch, August 28, 2012 12:29 PM

just one more thing

In order to be given the death sentence, he would have to have had two people warn him not to do it beforehand, in addition to the witnesses. Otherwise he actually goes free (he may get locked up for the good of society, but halacha has no guidelines for that) and he is left for God to punish.

JP, August 28, 2012 7:51 PM

Uhhh, come again?

You know....halacha is halalcha, and Torah is Torah...don't make halacha (written by men) the Torah (written by Hashem)...I don't fully agree with everything halacha says, though some of the stuff really can clarify a few things up, the bottom line is, if it CHANGES Torah, I don't want to hear it, and this is one of those things, but thats just my opinion...read Bemidbar and you will see clearly...the only exception to the death penalty on murder (other than less than two witnesses) that I can recall, is when it was unintentional (there would be a city of refuge where the killer could flee to). If I know to murder is lawlesness/sin, why do I still need somebody to warn me that Im about to sin? It's a bit far-fetched for me, it's like the murderer saying "Kwl, as long as know one warns me I'll go shoot all those people I didn't like in school, even though there are witnesses ill still be free, whaalala, now, wheres my magazine?...." Doesn't make sense to me!! Anyway, thanks for that, I didn't know it was part of halacha....

Rivka Deutsch, August 30, 2012 9:30 AM

This is where belief that God runs the world comes in

We have to understand that ultimately it is God that dispenses justice.

JP, August 31, 2012 6:28 PM

Totally agreed. Shalom.

(23) E.D.Bingham, August 27, 2012 8:32 PM

Obviously their Viking blood has become thin!

For minor crimes, as stated in the Tora, I can rationalize, however, major crimes i.e., murder, grand theft and treason should have a very harsh punishment to the individual who commits the crime but also a deturant to others.

(22) Anonymous, August 27, 2012 8:08 PM

That article is missing the ( antisemite & antiwestern) ideologic & political point . . .

...that the Norwegian politicians and media - esp. the left - used the Breivik massacre and court process for hide a lot: They are drumming against ISRAEL and destructing the fundament oft freedom, - in cunjunction with their culturalist, in consequence anti-civilizatoric and pro-islamic ideology or interestes, inseparable with their antizionist to antisemite ideology. (Just one day before Breiviks massmurder, the (foreign ?) minister of the so called "workers party" held an ugly antiisraeli speach in front of the later juvenile victims on Utoya island ! Some months before, the far left socialist party demanded to bomb ISRAEL ...) Anders A. BREIVIK knows this and much more dangerous strategies and lies spread by european elites, - for example the treacherous german-french EURABIA contracts ("euro-arab dialogue") after Jom Kippur war, another was the Kaiser's empire and nazi-germany's incitement of Djihad, dutch & british pro-islamic history revisionism in their central libraries or - not to forget especially by israeli leftists - the soviet KGB incitement of worldconspiracy antisemitism incl. diplomatic & military upgrading of PLO & other MBrotherhood nazi/jihad followers . . .. Tragically, these threads in conjunction with nature of Qoran-islam & increasing islamic immigration & crimes in conjunction with Breiviks narcissistically disturbed personality, he breed an sectarian, terorist "solution" ... Unfortunately, the English Wikipedia article is much less concrete than the german about nordic expert Manfred Gerstenfeld, born in Vienna, grew up in Amsterdam and moved to Israel in 1968. He has a Ph.D. ... Gerstenfeld was a board member of the Israel Corporation and other Israeli companies. He is editor of The Jewish Political Studies Review, ...: "BEHIND THE HUMANITARIAN MASK: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, Jerusalem 2008"

(21) linn Kenterman, August 27, 2012 7:39 PM


Typical liberal jewish views. To some he was a hero. He defended his beleif on his culture and did not want Muslims taking over his country. What else could he do in a world of political correctness. Muslims do this to Christians and Jews all the time. Where is the outrage on the other side?????

Anonymous, August 28, 2012 10:35 AM

his beliefs?

"What else could he do in a world of political correctness" Am I reading this correctly? As he believed he was fighting for a higher cause he was allowed to kill nearly 70 young people because he had no option? I am sorry, you actually seem to support this moron's actions. There are many things our governements do but that by no way gives anyone the right to kill the youth memebers (nor indeed any members) of the party. He has sucked you in with his hatred. As to your last sentence, since when did two wrongs make a right....

(20) Dean, August 27, 2012 5:11 PM

Are there two Torahs

The Torah I read requires the death penalty for muder. It is specfically required that everyone in the village take part in the stoning so that everyone realizes the seriousness of murder. Killing a murder is not murder, it is justice. The cities of refuge were for those who killed accidently, not for murders. The photo of the weapon he used is evidence that his intent was murder.

(19) Pauline, August 27, 2012 5:09 PM

This article is interesting. What I think ought to be a priority is not so much punishment or rehabilitation, but protection of the general law abiding population.

(18) Martin, August 27, 2012 3:54 PM

Get real on the facts, David Olesker et al.

Here in Scandinavia we don't allow the state to commit murder in our name, and for some strange reason, even with cases such as this, we can live with it. Brievik has been sentenced not to prison, he has been handed a 21 year security holing order that is followed by a rolling five year assessment, ergo, he will never, nd let me repeat that NEVER be a free man again. If you read the judgement in Norwegian you will see the judges have written they do not expect Breivik to be counted as dependable and therefore freedom will never be an option. However, the system is not as David Olesker would have it seem, after the 21 years it is a five person panel made up of judges/lawyers that go through any new informatin and appeals, it is not, I repeat, not, some "bureaucrat" as Olesker would have us believe, please David, look into the system before making such statements My son lived 900 metres from the bomb and knew a girl that died on Utøya and has a close connection therefore with the events, on hearing the sentnece passed on Breivik he calmly said "He will never walk free again, justice is done". My 23 year old son in the middle of things and felt the bomb blast can accept this judgement, but others out here are calling for state sponsered killing.... My son shows himself to be more humane I think.

(17) Bernie Mandell, August 27, 2012 3:35 PM

Your thesis is morally sound, BUT how do you relate it to Israel's and Jewry's protection against terrorism? Could Islamists be rehabilitated? Should terrorists be recirculated back into society? Wake up and smell the fire!

(16) Laurence cohn, August 27, 2012 2:34 PM

He3 should have been chargesd wioth geneciode

This serial killer should have been sentenced to death for genecide -- This is no justice, this is a vacation. Why should anyone work or if you lose your job just commit a crime and enjoy all of the comforts that you cannot afford!

(15) jerry solomon, August 27, 2012 12:48 PM

System without merit

Where is Justice, Justice, Justice?? It is outrageously wrong for a misanthrope to be provided with luxurious living, during the period of Teshuvah! Yes, freedom is restricted, but the physical benefits of this lifestyle are totally inappropriate. A life sentence in solitary confinement or the death penalty would be best. Note: when the verdict was issued, the murderer applauded, with no expression of sorrow for his dastardly actions.

(14) Maria Raquel de Almeida, August 27, 2012 9:41 AM

The Norwegians have the right approach

Breivick did commit a terrible crime for which he is unrepentant however, by refusing the call of insanity, the Norwegians are facing a barrage of criticism to their amazing the legal system which is a humane one rather than the awful punitive system in the USA where people are locked up for 900 years and/or sentenced to death -but let us not go into that. The Torah teaches that even if someone has committed a crime, banishment is to be imposed, well only after the person is found guilty. So, the individual is banished from his homeland, his community and family, goes off and starts a new life - the Norwegian model: a home style prison and as for Ikea furnishings, there is nothing glamorous about it, this is how they decorate their homes, and the banishment is the equivalent of being locked up, being deprived of freedom of movement. Before you guys shout condemnation at the system of restaurative justice, look again at the American system of extreme punishment and compare the two systems - one separates the crime from the criminal and believes that the criminal can be rehabilitated even if it takes more athan 21 years, whereas, with systems which believe that the criminal and the crime he has committed are one and the same, then American and British prisons will be forever a factory of criminals.

(13) David Olesker, August 27, 2012 9:35 AM

An unpopular point to consider

The problem with Breivik's sentence is not just that it's too short, it's also that he will not be released when it's finished. Think about it; a court (with all the safeguards of a developed judicial system) hears evidence and counter evidence and takes the drastic step of depriving a man of his liberty for two decades. Then some bureaucrat can, by administrative fiat, keep him locked up indefinitely. What was the point of the trial in the first place? Just lock him up forever by administrative decree. The Norwegian system is based on reformation, not punishment. Fair enough, that's their philosophy and there are points to recommend it. But it has it's limitations such as rare crimes like this. Instead of having the courage to give the courts the powers to deal with such situations, the judicial system abdicates responsibility to the administrative system which is inherently less transparent or accountable. Am I the only one who finds this sinister?

(12) class revurson, August 27, 2012 8:38 AM

our law is human. norway is not a religious wild-west-province of the usa.

the artikel is just arrogant and false. brevik will stay in prison for 21 year and past it he will stay in security-arrest. he will never be free. this is the hardest punishment, the norwegian law knows. we in scandinavia dont have a religious law - it is oriantated on the people. compared with the states, we, the society dont kill people for their crimes. therefor LIFE even of murder and terrorist is the HIGHEST VALUE.

Anonymous, August 27, 2012 1:15 PM

Norwegians are progressive extremists

The problem with your extreme "progressive" position is that is makes life look cheap. The price tag you place on 70 lives is: 21 years in a Hotel room with 3 meals and all facilities !!! On top of all this the question your justice system NEVER answers is: what about the dead? what about the victims? you seem to be concerned ONLY about the criminal who is alive. You protect the life of the criminal at all costs. Your "justice" system does not care about the victims. They are just dead meat right?

(11) allen, August 27, 2012 8:32 AM

murderer Anders Breivik

NORWAY the wealthiest Country in the World indeed creating so much Income per head per capita enabling them to pay off their National Debt yonks ago and by all accounts treat their murderers and perhaps even would be murderers to a life style befitting a hero amongst his followers. How sad for those bereaving families.

(10) John a Leishman, August 26, 2012 9:25 PM

Who is the madest

It should have been made clear to Breivik that he would NEVER be released from prison, any other system is mad in itself. 77 people dead, most of them in their youth? And this mass murderer could be out in 21 years, Dont anyone try to justify this as a sane sentence.

(9) Ellen, August 26, 2012 6:20 PM

A swedish view

I think this was an interesting topic since I am from Sweden and the Swedish justice system and culture is very similar to the Norwigan. I think the verdict was good since it makes it clear where the guilt lies. Everyone here knows that conflicts and reactions are a part of a bigger process, but Breivks motives can be seen from a logical perspective. If there would have been a death sentece and the Norweigan government would have used it then they would not have been better than Breivik himself. To value life higher then punishment I think is honerable. The question lies insted in how can a society be organised in a way that puts respect, acceptence and community higher and help familes with problems raise their children in a way that doesn't produce massmurderers. I that will be the question for the future and the lession to be learnt from this.

Anonymous, August 27, 2012 7:20 AM

Extreme kindless is injustice

My question is: Are you really honoring life above anything else???? in Norway and Sweden you make human life look very cheap. The Bible clearly teaches capital punishment and that the price of one life is one life, if you kill the price to pay is your own life. In Norway the price 70 lives is only 21 years of jail in a comforrtable hotel style appartment with TV and computer. The price to pay for taking a life (or 70 lives) in Norway is very cheap.

class svergudsons, August 27, 2012 8:46 AM

u dont get the point

in europe we splited between state and religion. he is not "paying" - the punishment is to safe the country . it is hard to understand, when the only rule wich is valid for you is the - "you kill anybody, we kill you" or "eye for eye, toe for toe"-nonsense.

Maria Raquel de Almeida, August 27, 2012 9:46 AM

which bible is that?

The Torah does not advocate a life for a life, c'mon, read it again. Banishment or exile with the right to return after the death of the high priest. Which Bible do you read, this is so misleading

Tina Garcia, August 28, 2012 3:12 PM

Well, what bible are you reading yourself? The exile of the murderer is only when he killed unintentionally.

(8) Anonymous, August 26, 2012 6:03 PM

Breivik verdict

I agree with every opinion already expressed. However one line stands out in my mind, as to the value of a diagnosis of sanity: according to which there is some accountability for the crime committed. Also the fact that he spent some 9 years meticulously preparing his crime indicates that he had enough concentration to do it, and could not have done it had he been insane or psychotic.

(7) Manuel, August 26, 2012 6:01 PM

I do not agree al all

At least, Justice was served quickly, many countries have to work hard to reach Norwegian standards. In other countries Justice goes too slow placing a heavy burden in the victims familes. i e Argentina and the AMIA bombing (no one is yet on jail, no one is yet condemned). Event ocurred almost 18 years ago back in 1994.

(6) Lorral Weaver, August 26, 2012 5:55 PM

Crime and Punishment

What ever happened to the type of punishment that the first century non repentant criminals had to endure? When they were sent to an Island to break rocks for life, or they were stoned to death. I believe in mercy, but let's get real. Life has become too easy for criminals.

(5) Clara, August 26, 2012 4:17 PM


I was completely outraged when I heard the sentence he had received and I'm a *bit* calmed down after reading your blog. But how does the Norway system know for certain when a criminal is rehabilitated and can be freed? A really savvy criminal might be able to con those who make the determination. Breivik's very comfortable situation made me recall what has been known to happen in the US and certainly elsewhere. During the cold winter months a homeless man would often commit some minor crime so he could be jailed. Now instead of being out on the streets, huddled under cardboard in a doorway, he had a warm bed and 3 meals a day!!

(4) Benjamin, August 26, 2012 4:14 PM

The four types of crimes

The Torah states that there are four areas in which someone can commit capital offenses. 1) Murder. 2) Incest. 3) Idol worship. 4) adultary. These cases are then reviewed by the Sanhedrin starting with 23 judges. The court is obligated to find the person innocent and if found guilty another judge is added. If the person is found guilty through out numerous trials until a total of 72 judges has reviewed the case. If the final verdict is guilty then the person is excecuted still given three chances to produce more witnesses in their favor. The situation of killing another human being is considered huge sin. The murderer has taken away a life that the Almighty has placed on the earth for a specific reason. The victim is also a relative, friend, coworker and the list goes on. The Norway murderer may his name never be spoken again befall a fate equal to his crimes. The sentence of a comfortable setting for the next 21 years is not ok. May this murderer not have a place in the next world and have his soul banished.

(3) pherring, August 26, 2012 3:44 PM


Breivik sane? One would have to question the sanity of the Norwegian Legal System that has come to this decision. His arguments for commiting these heinous crimes would no doubt appeal to increasingly large numbers of Europeans who resent the influx of ethnic,cultural and religious minorities into their countries - democratically conducted arguments are one thing, premedicated acts of excessive violence as an excuse for such arguments are totally outside the accepted bounds of human behaviour. Surely, even the most radical of those opposed to multiculturalism, would wonder how self confessed mass murderer could be qualified as being sane. One would hope the families of those who had members murdered will be in agreement with the Courts decision - it is certainly a verdict that many people of diverse backrounds will find very difficult to understand

Rachel, August 26, 2012 8:57 PM

"Sanity" used as a legal term

I know very little about Norwegian law, but I'm familiar with Euro Court of Human Rights, international human rights law, etc. "Sane" means that he is responsible for his crimes. Were he found insane, he would probably not be found guilty. An anology would be if someone with a physical disease accidentally causes another's death. For example, if someone with no history of a heart condition suddenly has a heart attack, falls and knocks down others, who die from the fall, the perpetrator will not be judged a criminal. Furthermore, international human rights standards proscribe cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, so the fact that he's going to be held in a clean cell with decent furnishings shows Norway's compliance. I have no problem whatsoever with the Norwegian verdict, since it can be extended if necessary. Contrast this with the US system, which can impose life without possibility of parole, no matter how much the convict may reform over the years in prison. Compare also with the shooter of Rep. Giffords, who killed several other people. Once in custody and receiving appropriate psychiatric care and medication, he was reportedly horrified and in tears at having killed a little girl. He has been spared a death penalty trial because the families of all involved (survivors and families of the dead) preferred to put him away without themselves having to go through the agony of a lengthy trial, mandatory appeals, etc.

(2) Anonymous, August 26, 2012 3:05 PM

In this case a special session of Parliament should have voted on total retribution.

There is no way a cold-blooded mass killer based on ideology can ever be reformed. A special session of the Parliament should have voted on suspension of the normal rules and ximum retribution to be ordered. Look what the Knesset did, quite rightly, in the case of Eichmann. This brings a merciful closure especially fo the families of the victims. It is comforting to think that the souls of such evil monsters will burn in hell for eternity. They should just have time to be made fully aware of this before they are executed. In such a case, there is no reasonable doubt of guilt. We are not talking about a possible miscarriage of justice.

(1) Stacey, August 26, 2012 11:57 AM

Thanks for the perspective

Another point I found interesting was how the Breivik trial served as a forum for healing the emotional pain of the victims' families. The Atlantic article mentions how each one of the 77 victims was given a direct voice: The court heard 77 autopsy reports, 77 descriptions of how Breivik had killed them, and 77 minute-long biographies "voicing his or her unfulfilled ambitions and dreams."


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