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חבלני vs. פלילי - crime words

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by triptonizer, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. triptonizer Senior Member

    Ghent - Belgium
    Nederlands - België
    חוץ מזה שזה רצח, המשטרה לא ידעה להגיד כלום - אם זה פלילי או חבלני או הדבר השלישי הזה שתמיד אומרים בחדשות


    This quote is from a short story by Etgar Keret (איש בלי ראש). Obviously the context is that a body has been found, and in this sentence a couple of words are introduced to further try and determine the exact nature of the crime committed. רצח - here is the more general term, but what could the distinction between חבלני and פלילי mean? according to the dictionary 'damaging, sabotaging' vs. 'criminal' but that's not very helpful. And then there's the mysterious הדבר השלישי which in this context must have a specific meaning I don't grasp. Any help would be much appreciated.

  2. arielipi Senior Member

    רצח is murder, פלילי is (of) criminal (law) חבלני is (of) terrorism.

    הדבר השלישי הוא אולי על רקע גזעני
  3. triptonizer Senior Member

    Ghent - Belgium
    Nederlands - België
    Thank you! Is "the third thing" a common way to refer to racism?
  4. ystab Senior Member

    Not really. I guess we need to be familiar with the story. It can also be, for example, off the top of my head, an honor killing (see Wikipedia for more information), that is more common in tribal societies as the Arab society.

    By the way, today the common terminology is not חבלני, but rather לאומני (nationalist).
  5. Tararam Senior Member

    The story mentions Goyim and Arabs, so I guess he was indeed talking about a hate crime.
    "The third thing" is not a common way to refer to racism at all. It's 100% based on the story's context.
  6. triptonizer Senior Member

    Ghent - Belgium
    Nederlands - België
    Okay everybody thanks for the valuable input. I take it "the third thing" is kept deliberately vague then. The whole point of the story is that it will always stay like that, because the police couldn't find who did it, or why. They didn't even retrieve the poor man's head. :)

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