Prof. Ada Yonath, who was informed last week that she would become the ninth Israeli winner of a Nobel prize for her work in chemistry, went on the record on Saturday regarding an entirely different subject, stating that Israel should release all Palestinian prisoners, regardless of whether it would be part of a deal to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
"It's not clear to me why we're holding these Palestinian terrorists, or what we call 'terrorists,' instead of releasing everybody who is [in our jails] from the outset, without any connection to a deal for Schalit," Yonath said during an interview with Army Radio.
Yonath continued by analyzing the motivation behind terrorism and stated that keeping Palestinians incarcerated for extended periods of time would not help Israeli security, but would exacerbate the threats.
"We need to think about ways to reduce their motivation to kill and be killed," she said of the Palestinian inmates. "We have it in our power to change the current situation, when a man sits in our jails for a number of years, and around him friends and family become angry. That is how we create terrorists."
"Regardless of these inmates, there are enough people who are currently free on the other side who are able to hurt us," Yonath added.
Returning to the issue of Gilad Schalit, the soon-to-be Nobel prize laureate said that releasing all of the prisoners would help avoid future kidnappings.
"If there weren't terrorists sitting in our jails, they wouldn't kidnap Israelis in order to bring about their release," Yonath said. "The moment we hold onto terrorists, this then gives the other side an appetite to launch kidnapping operations. The moment we no longer have terrorists and anybody to release, they won't have any reason to kidnap."
Questioning those who speak of a terrorist ideology, Yonath said that she believed the motivation behind Palestinian terrorism was simply a lack of hope.
"These people - for the most part - have no hope or vision, and therefore they don't care whether others live, and so they will jump at the opportunity to go to heaven and receive a little honor," she said. "This doesn't happen to people with a life and hope."