Sicarii (Daggermen) was a Jewish terrorist group active in Israel that took responsibility for a series of terrorist attacks between 1989 and 1990 on Palestinians and Jewish political and media figures considered sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians. They named themselves after the ancient Sicarii rebels, a group of Jewish zealots who opposed Roman occupation of Judea.
It is unknown whether the Sicarii were an organized group or a loose alliance of isolated extremists.
In March 1989, The Jerusalem Post described the Sicarii as “the most sought-after under group in Israel today”. In one telephone call, a member claimed they “identified” with the Kach political party of Rabbi Meir Kahane, which was outlawed as racist in 1988. Investigation failed to identify the members of the group or to identify the culprits in the attacks that the group claimed responsibility for.
Sicarii claimed responsibility for multiple attacks on leftist Jews and Palestinians. These incidents also include fires set at apartments owned by left-wing journalists, politicians and entertainers, as well as the torching of cars owned by left-wing public figures; setting off a bomb near the home of a surgeon who had transplanted the heart of an IDF soldier into an East Jerusalem Arab; and the uprooting trees along the Avenue of Righteous Gentiles at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
Some targets of the Sicarii’ dummy grenade included Gershon Shaked, Hayim Be’er, Hareetz publisher Amos Schoken, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem rector Yoram Ben-Porat. Some victims of their arson attacks include Dan Almagor, Sesame Street TV actress Sarai Tsuriel and pollster Mina Zemach, who had published a survey saying that 54% of Israelis were in favor of peace talks with the PLO.
They also sent a number of threatening letters to public media figures, judges, moderate right and left-wing parties as well as ultra-Orthodox leaders.
They claimed responsibility for the shooting by a lone gunman of Arabs outside Jerusalem‘s walled old city on April 10, 1989. The gunman was wearing an Israeli army uniform and shot down four Palestinian men with an Uzi machine gun. Sicarii claimed that the incident, which became known as the Jaffa Gate shooting, was an act of retaliation for the previous week’s stoning attack on Jews at the Western Wall.
In early January 1990, Sicarii claimed responsibility for planting a dummy grenade under the car of the wife of deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. They also threatened to attack other members of the Knesset from the Labor Party and Ratz because they supported Palestinian peace demonstrations, and to execute a dozen activists of the Peace Now movement. In a phone call, a Sicarii member said “We know that Peace Now is funded by Shimon Peres and functions under his direct instructions. We have information on all leftist organizations in Israel. We have the means to get to every single traitor.”