Netanyahu to advance death penalty bill

Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov welcomed Netanyahu’s decision, saying the bill should have passed long ago and must be passed as soon as possible.

November 6, 2018 02:28
2 minute read.
benjamin netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem September 5, 2018.. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)


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A bill that would make it easier for military courts to sentence terrorists to death will be advanced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he told his coalition partners in a meeting on Sunday.

The Yisrael Beytenu proposal, backed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, would amend the current law that allows the death penalty if it is a unanimous decision by all the judges on the panel in a military court. Should the bill become law, a terrorist could be sentenced to death if two of the three judges agree to it.

Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov welcomed Netanyahu’s decision, saying the bill should have passed long ago and must be passed as soon as possible.

But Joint List MK Nivin Abu-Rahman said the bill was populist and Fascist.

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said the bill would have no impact whatsoever but he would agree to pass it anyway so his party would not be criticized by Liberman.

“The challenge isn’t passing but what happens after the next horrible murder,” Bennett said.

Bennett continued his recent sharp criticism of Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, saying that since Liberman became defense minister, Israel’s deterrence had been lost. Liberman, who responded to Bennett’s recent attacks by criticizing him back, this time responded by wishing him good health.

Another bill that will be expedited is new legislation that would limit the power of the president. The bill, which will already come to a vote at next Sunday’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation, would prevent the president from asking an MK who is not a party leader to form a government.

The bill is intended to prevent a hypothetical scenario in which President Reuven Rivlin would bypass Netanyahu following an indictment of the prime minister and instead ask former minister Gideon Sa’ar to form the next government. Coalition chairman David Amsalem said he did not expect to have a problem passing the bill after Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon endorsed it.

“The bill is the right thing to do, because it fixes a legislative loophole,” Kahlon told his faction in the Knesset. “This is not a personal bill aimed at anyone.”

The bill would require the president to grant the right to form a government to the party leader whose party receives the most recommendations from other party leaders to form a government.

Kahlon admitted that he stopped the Likud from pushing forward a much more substantial bill that would more significantly limit the power of the president.

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