Bill curbing Israeli insurance benefits for freed terrorists advances

NII representatives, Justice Ministry support bill in current version, which includes article saying freed terrorists will not be denied a basic subsistence allotment.

May 22, 2014 03:40
1 minute read.
A released Palestinian prisoner at the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip.

Palestinians prisoner released October 30, 2013 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A bill to deny National Insurance Institute allotments to terrorists released as part of diplomatic negotiations advanced in the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on Wednesday.

The legislation proposed by coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) states that a prisoner who committed a crime with nationalist motivations who was sentenced to more than 10 years, who is let out of jail before serving his or her full time as part of a prisoner exchange or diplomatic negotiations, will not be paid benefits by the state until the end of his or her original sentence.

Such benefits include unemployment, pensions and work-injury payments.

“This proposal will bring an end to the absurd situation in which prisoners do not only serve their full time in jail, but they get a benefits check when they leave prison,” Levin told the committee.

MK Afo Agbaria (Hadash) said the proposal is racist and will only affect Arabs.

“Will it apply to Jewish terrorists?” Agbaria asked.

“Sure, if Hamas demands to free them,” Levin retorted.

“What do you want from us, to send terrorists flowers for Shabbat?” Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee chairman Haim Katz (Likud Beytenu) asked.

Agbaria responded that if the prisoners are being freed, they should no longer be punished.

“A self-respecting democratic state should keep its promises,” the Hadash lawmaker said.

Representatives of the NII and Justice Ministry supported the bill in its current version, which includes an article saying that the freed terrorists will not be denied a basic subsistence allotment.

Anne Suciu of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel called the bill unconstitutional.

“You can’t solve the injustice felt because terrorists are released by creating a new injustice. This goes against Israel’s legal system.

Even someone who committed the worst crime deserves rights,” she said.

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