Death penalty for terrorists gains popularity in coalition and on social media

The current law gives judges an option of sentencing a terrorist to death, but only if there is a consensus between all the judges presiding over a case.

Sharon Gal. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Sharon Gal.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ahead of Sunday’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation vote, a proposal by MK Sharon Gal (Yisrael Beytenu) to enforce the death penalty for terrorists has gained momentum, with some ministers saying they’ll vote in favor and a social media campaign growing in popularity.
Gal posted a photo of himself on Facebook on Wednesday, in which he is holding a sign that says: “I, too, support the death penalty for terrorists.” He called on his supporters to upload similar pictures.
“We must change the reality and eradicate terrorism,” Gal said. “The death penalty will increase Israel’s deterrence. It is moral to legislate it in order to protect the lives of our citizens.”
The current law gives judges the option of sentencing a terrorist to death, but only if there is a consensus among all the judges presiding over the case.
As of Thursday afternoon, Gal’s post had over 22,000 likes and 1,400 comments, and was shared over 3,500 times. The MK claimed his proposal had broad support from the public, showing it should become law.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of Bayit Yehudi, announced that his party’s ministers would support the proposal.
“Terrorism is stopped with action and not talk. A murdering terrorist... must know that his life will end when he cuts a life short,” Bennett said.
He pointed specifically to those who had massacred the Fogel family in the settlement of Itamar in March 2011, killing the parents and three children, ages 11, four and three months.
He also called on opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid to support the bill to show that “on these topics there is no opposition and coalition.”
Meanwhile, Likud ministers were split on whether to back the proposal, with only Science, Technology and Space Minister Danny Danon saying he planned to vote in favor.
Gal’s proposal would apply to Israel within the Green Line, as well as to Judea and Samaria, and would allow a majority of judges presiding over a case to decide on the death penalty.
In the West Bank, an IDF major-general would no longer be able to set aside a death sentence.
The only person sentenced to death by a civil court in Israel was former SS officer Adolf Eichmann, who was executed in 1962.
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On proposed a bill on Thursday to abolish the law allowing civil and military courts to sentence people to death, except in cases of genocide.
“The proposal to sentence terrorists to death does not reflect Jewish morals or democratic values,” Gal-On said. “Killing for reasons of revenge is wrong. It is unwise and unjust, and its results were best described by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.”