Israeli Supreme Court decision to protect terrorist home sparks outrage

Hundreds of Israelis demonstrated in front of judge’s home after he rules that killer’s home cannot be destroyed.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Hundreds gathered in front of the home of High Court Judge Meni Mazuz Monday night to protest his joining a 2-1 decision to forbid the destruction of the family home of the terrorist who killed IDF soldier Amit Ben Yigal during an arrest raid in May in a Palestinian village.

The Choosing Life Forum of bereaved families and the pro-Zionist Im Tirtzu organization led the demonstrators, who said that a court that protects terrorists instead of their victims is unacceptable, and that the ruling will lead to more Israelis being murdered.

“Judge Mazuz signed today and approved future terrorist… acts,” Herzl and Meirav Hajaj, whose daughter Shir was a victim of terrorism, told Channel 20.

“The High Court justices said today that the blood of our eldest daughter Shir, and Amit Ben-Yigal, and of thousands more Israelis is cheap, and that the rights of the terrorist’s family overrides the prevention of future attacks.

“Those for whom the rights of the enemy and the despicable terrorists are more important than the citizens and soldiers of Israel cannot be a judge in Israel,” they said, adding “There are judges in Jerusalem for terrorists only.”

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Im Tirtzu head Matan Peleg called for both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to ignore the ruling, saying, “This is another nail in the awareness coffin of the Supreme Court.”

The organization shares the IDF’s view that the destruction of terrorists’ homes acts as a deterrence to others thinking of committing such attacks. The dissenting judge in the decision, Justice Yael Willner, agreed.

Mazuz and Justice George Karra were in the majority opinion that it does not act as a deterrent.  It is also not “proportional,” they wrote, to make a family of eight homeless when they had nothing to do with the father’s act.

Ben Yigal’s girlfriend told Channel 13 after the decision, “I am ashamed that such people exist in this country. [They] will not destroy the terrorist’s house because his family is ‘innocent’? And what are we? Why do we have to go through this? Do I deserve it? Do his parents, sisters, friends?”

His father, Baruch, echoed her words in a Channel 20 interview.

“I’m not innocent, [ex-wife] Nava is not innocent?” he said, adding that he asks God each day for the strength just to get through each day without his only child, as his ex-wife “at least has other children” to hold onto. He also framed the move to raze the terrorist’s home as a matter of stopping the next murder.

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“There is no question of revenge here,” he said, “it’s a matter of deterrence.” When the IDF goes out to Palestinian villages on missions, he continued, “What will those terrorists say? Guys, we have a new insurance policy, it’s called ‘children.’ Move over, all you kids who throw stones. The profile of the new terrorist is 45 years old and up, with at least 6-to-7 kids. At worst, they’ll seal the room he slept in – big deal.”

“You know what? If that’s the ruling, let them not seal the room, it will be an insult,” to his son and all IDF soldiers, he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz condemned the decision. They said they will ask for an expanded panel of justices to hold another hearing in the matter.