Ministers vote in favor of death penalty law for terrorists

“There is nothing more symbolic than passing a death penalty for terrorists law,” National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislative Matters voted in favor of a bill calling for the death penalty over acts of terrorism on Sunday, minutes after a shooting attack killed two Israeli brothers.

According to the law, which was part of a coalition agreement between the Likud and Otzma Yehudit, Israeli courts will be permitted to impose the death penalty on those who commit murder on nationalistic grounds against Israeli citizens.

“On this difficult day, when two Israeli citizens were killed in a Palestinian terror attack, there is nothing more symbolic than passing a death penalty for terrorists law,” National Security Minister and Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben-Gvir said.

Noting that the death penalty exists in the U.S., he went on to call it “a moral and fair law” that should “certainly also exist in a country where a wave of terrorism plagues the country’s citizens.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the government “will continue to act by all means at our disposal – security-wise, operationally, and legislatively – to deter terrorists and maintain the security of Israel. Our response to terror is to strike at terror with force and deepen our roots in our country.”

Read  Israeli security establishment gears up for Jerusalem Day amid Hamas threats

The committee decided that following a preliminary vote, and prior to a first reading in the Knesset, a discussion will be held in the security cabinet on the exact wording of the law.

Attorney General Gila Beharev-Miara expressed opposition to the bill, issuing an opinion saying it was constitutionally problematic. According to Beharev-Miara, increasing punishment in general, and the death penalty in particular, do not increase deterrence. This is even more true when it comes to ideological criminals and terrorists, who are willing to die while carrying out attacks, the opinion said.

The clear trend in developed countries in the world is the abolition of the death penalty, the opinion said, with more than two-thirds no longer carrying it out. The only Western country where the death penalty is still carried out is the US, the opinion noted, and there, too, seven states in the past decade have abolished it and it remains legal in only 31 states.

MK Limor Son Har-Melech (Otzma Yehudit), who signed the law, dismissed Beharev-Miara’s opinion.

“Time and again in recent times we see terrorists who go and turn themselves in. If they really wanted to die so much, they would not take a taxi and turn themselves in right after an attack,” Son Har-Melech told Ynet radio.

Read  First Israeli casualty: Rocket hits building in central Israel -1 killed; several injured, some trapped in rubble

A poll published in November showed that a majority of Israelis – 71% – support the death penalty for terrorists convicted of killing Israelis.