Yisrael Beytenu revives death penalty campaign after Har Adar attack

To date, Israel does not have the death penalty, but that might change.

September 27, 2017 15:28
1 minute read.
Old Sparky

Handout photo of an electric chair, nicknamed "Old Sparky", at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s party brought back its campaign for Israel to use the death penalty against terrorists after Tuesday’s deadly attack in Har Adar.

Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov resubmitted the party’s bill, which would change the current law that allows the death penalty only in a case of judicial consensus, used only against Holocaust organizer Adolf Eichmann in 1962, to one allowing a majority of presiding judges to sentence to death someone convicted of murder through terrorist activity.

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The policy was a central element of the party’s 2015 election campaign, but when it was brought before the Knesset that year, it was voted down 94-6.

Ilatov said “the bereaved families whose loved ones were murdered by despicable people deal with their pain and loss every day and every hour, while the terrorists enjoy comfortable conditions in prison. That is not the policy we want. That is not a deterrent.”

The Yisrael Beytenu legislator called for a clear law that if a terrorist kills innocent civilians, he or she will be sentenced to death.

Devora Gonen, the mother of Danny Gonen who was killed near Dolev in 2015, leads a group of bereaved families calling for the death penalty.

“Israeli citizens don’t know about all the benefits that terrorists and their families received,” she said. “Today, being a terrorist pays. I want to know that whoever commits an act of terrorism will lose his whole world.”

Right-wing organization Im Tirzu joined the campaign, with the NGO’s chairman Matan Peleg calling it “an absurd reality in which it pays more to murder an Israeli than to steal a car,” and arguing that terrorists have better prison conditions than other felons.

Nimr Mahmoud Ahmad al-Jamal, the terrorist who committed Tuesday’s attack, was killed on the spot, after shooting and killing three Israelis and wounding one in the suburban Jerusalem settlement of Har Adar.

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