No decision from security cabinet on death penalty for terrorists

Former brigadier-general Lior Akerman said that while the death penalty may serve a desire for vengeance, it will not deter attacks and will give the terrorists “international legitimization."

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July 26, 2018 01:51
2 minute read.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks at a faction meeting on June 18th, 2018

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks at a faction meeting on June 18th, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The security cabinet on Wednesday failed to reach a decision on whether to advance a bill calling for capital punishment for terrorists.

Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov, who sponsored the bill that passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset in January, said he was “disappointed” by the non-decision.

“We expect that an additional discussion will be held as soon as possible to finish the process and quickly complete the legislation,” he said.

Prior to the security cabinet discussion, Liberman posted on Twitter that “finally the death penalty for terrorists will come for a decision.”

“I am sure that my ministerial colleagues understand that we need all the means possible in the war on terrorism,” Liberman wrote. “A terrorist who slaughters a family does not need to return home. There is no reason we should be more enlightened than the United States and Japan in the war on terrorism.”

Both the US and Japan have capital punishment.

The Prime Minister’s Office did not issue any statement about Wednesday’s security cabinet meeting.

In January the Knesset voted 52-49 in a preliminary vote for a bill that would make it easier for the military courts to sentence terrorists to death. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time he supported the death penalty for terrorists in “extreme cases.”

Capital punishment was a central part of Yisrael Beytenu’s plank in the 2015 elections.

Nadav Argaman, the head of the Shin Beit (Israel Security Agency) reportedly told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense committee in December that he was opposed to the death penalty. In the past, some senior security officials have opposed the idea out of the fear that it would only spur more terrorism.

Lior Akerman, a former IDF brigadier-general who served as a division head in the Shin Bet, said on Kan Bet radio said that the death penalty would not deter terrorists.

“Those who set out to murder and carry out suicide attacks are going from the premise that they will not return alive,” he said.

“They want 72 virgins [in heaven] and payments for their families, and they will get all that if they are given the death penalty. This will only increase their fame.”

Akerman said that while the death penalty may serve a desire for vengeance, it will not deter attacks and will give the terrorists “international legitimization.”


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