(photo credit:Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
National Insurance stipends for criminals convicted of terror and nationalist
crimes will be halved upon their release from prison, according to a bill
approved for its second and third plenum reading in a heated meeting of the
Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on Monday.
proposed by Yisrael Beytenu MKs David Rotem and Robert Ilatov, cuts National
Insurance benefits by 50 percent for Israeli citizens involved in terrorism who
were sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.
The committee authorized
the bill with four in favor and MKs Ilan Gilon (Meretz) and Afo Agbaria (Hadash)
“While everyone is talking about elections, Yisrael Beytenu is
working as usual and keeping its promises to the people of Israel,” Rotem said.
“The absurd situation, in which the State of Israel pays out of all of our
pockets the people who harm and murder Israeli citizens, must
Rotem pointed out that the Justice Ministry vetoed his original
proposal – to completely deny National Insurance benefits to convicted
terrorists – so he moderated the legislation.
According to Gilon, the
bill is unconstitutional, and punishment for crimes should be a separate matter
from National Insurance.
“How long will we let [terrorists] spit on us,
and we’ll say it’s raining?” MK Arieh Bibi (Kadima) retorted, in defense of the
bill. “Rotem is doing us a favor! [Terrorists] shouldn’t just lose National
Insurance, they should be thrown out of the country.”
Agbaria said he is
not surprised that the bill is coming from the current “extremist and racist”
government, but such legislation “does not look good in a country that calls
itself a democracy.”
“You are blackening the democratic face of Israel!
After you punish a person for a crime he committed, you want to punish him even
more?” Agbaria asked. “This coalition is warmongering and encouraging paranoia
Bibi and MK Arye Eldad (National Union) took issue with
Agbaria’s labeling the bill racist, pointing out that it does not mention any
specific groups in society.
“Why is this racist? Are you saying that all
terrorists are Arabs?” Eldad quipped.
“This bill is an embarrassment,”
The legislation will have to undergo a second and
third reading in the plenum before it becomes a law.
chairman Haim Katz (Likud) said he will bring the bill to a vote as soon as
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