Knesset votes down bill to ban returning bodies of terrorists killed in attacks

The controversy has been somewhat of an open wound for the families of terror victims.

By Gil Tanenbaum, TPS

An opposition-sponsored bill that would have prohibited the return of the bodies of terrorists to their families for burial was defeated in the Knesset Wednesday by a vote of 62 – 50.

Members of the Arab Joint List – a coalition of Arab parties than ran together in the last Knesset elections – joined the coalition in voting against the bill.

The controversy has been somewhat of an open wound for the families of terror victims and for Israelis whose loved ones were killed while serving in the IDF but whose bodies have not been recovered.

Many Israelis demand that no bodies of terrorists – such as those killed in any one of the recent attacks made on Israeli civilians throughout the country – should be handed over until those of Israelis are returned.

The law was proposed by MK Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the right-wing Religious Zionism faction in the Knesset.

The party slammed the coalition government for voting down the law, saying in a statement, “a coalition supported and kept alive by supporters of terrorism today breathed new life into the wings of terrorism and prevented an effective law that the coalition members themselves had previously said was a necessary and correct law.”

The party also had some especially harsh words for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, saying that the “Bennett-Tibi coalition is dangerous for Israel’s security.” This was in reference to the Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi. However, neither Tibi nor his party are a part of Israel’s current coalition government.

While promising to “fix” the issue in the near future, the Religious Zionist Party went on to say that Bennett once again preferred his “chair [in government]over the citizens of Israel and spat for the umpteenth time together with his friends, Shaked and Kahana over the bereaved families over the IDF soldiers and the citizens of Israel.”

Bennett maintained a policy of not returning the bodies of terrorists when he briefly served as the Minister of Defense under Benjamin Netanyahu in 2019.