Israeli court orders Hamas pay $11.8 million to families of kidnapped teens

Disappointed families say paltry judgment won’t deter terrorists.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Israeli court ruled Tuesday that the Hamas terror group must pay damages of NIS 38 million ($11.8 million) to the families of three teens who were kidnapped and murdered while hitchhiking in Judea and Samaria in June 2014.

But the decision was not being celebrated by the families or the advocacy group who filed the suit on their behalf.

Shurat HaDin, an Israeli non-governmental organization that fights terror through the legal system and often represents the families of terror victims, had asked for a judgement of NIS 520 million ($161 million).

The reason for the dramatic reduction from the sum requested, Judge Ilan Sela explained, was a previous precedent-setting ruling from Israel’s Supreme Court.

That ruling limited each plaintiff to NIS one million in compensation, and each estate to NIS three million.

Shurat HaDin’s founder, attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, excoriated the ruling in a statement, saying that the amount wasn’t enough to create disrupt Hamas’ operations.

“An organization that is based on a billion-dollar budget will not be deterred by any $10 million lawsuit. The purpose of the lawsuits is to bring down terrorism, and this cannot be done with such sums that are insignificant to them,” Darshan-Leitner said.

“It is unthinkable for an Israeli court to show such clemency toward the terrorist organization that financed, planned and carried out the horrific attack that the entire nation still carries in its heart.”

Nor was it clear how the families might collect the judgment from Hamas.

In 2014, Israeli yeshiva students  Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah – were kidnapped by Hamas near Alon Shvut.

One of the teens managed to call for help after being abducted, sparking a massive search that gripped the Jewish State. During the search, Hamas fired rockets at Israel, sparking Operation Protective Edge, a seven-week conflict.

The bodies of the three teens were found in a shallow grave in the Hebron area two weeks after their abduction.

Yifrah’s father, Uri, told Ynet that the “the ruling is not sufficient, because the State of Israel must crack down on terrorism against as hard as possible.”

“This is a sum that won’t deter Hamas and similar groups who continue their activities at all times. Our goal is to undermine the economic and legal tools of the terrorist organizations, to teach them a lesson and, God willing, to prevent the next incident.”