Law to suspend benefits for terrorists

Effort to stop NII payments to terrorist families held up in Knesset.

David Rotem 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
David Rotem 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation effectively put on hold Sunday a decision on a law that would suspend National Insurance Institute (NII) payments made by Israel to terrorists and their families.
The bill, sponsored by MKs Robert Ilatov (Israel Beiteinu) and David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) would have denied NII payments to any individual convicted of a terror activity against the State of Israel, or payments to their families.
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The bill would have also denied certain pension payments to the convicted individual, but the MKs emphasized that the bill would not deny any NII payments whose suspension would harm children or minors.
The Interior Minister would have been empowered to make the decision regarding the stripping of the benefits, but those who stood to be harmed by the stripping of payments would have had the right to attempt to prove that they were not involved in terror activities.
Ilatov and Rotem argued that there had been a number of instances in which Israeli citizens were involved in terror activities against fellow citizens. That same Israeli citizenship, the bill’s sponsors complained, guaranteed that their families would continue to enjoy NII benefits, including those stemming from the death or injury of the terrorist.
But the Ministerial Committee on Legislation declined to vote on the popular legislation, instead referring it to a ministerial committee chaired by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman.
Neeman’s ministry is working on what it described to MKs as a “wide-reaching law” to encompass all of the benefits that could be denied citizens who have been found guilty of participating in terror activities.
A series of bills all designed to withhold financial benefits funded by the state from terrorists with Israeli citizenship have passed their preliminary readings in the previous two governments. But four such bills, all presented in the previous Knesset following a series of 2008 terror attacks carried out by Israeli citizens, failed to advance past their preliminary readings before the government went to early elections.
With the convening of the Knesset following the elections, another round of private members’ bills sought to cover the same ground.
One such law, sponsored by MK Danny Danon (Likud), which would deny terrorists state subsidies for burial expenses, passed the ministerial committee in 2009, but has since been stalled. Danon said that his law was passed on the condition that he work together with the Justice Ministry – but that the ministry has continuously raised obstacles to the bill’s passage.
Danon complained that although he had seen a draft copy of the Justice Ministry’s planned legislation, it was still being debated and “it could take even a few years” before the legislation reaches a vote.
In the mean time, Danon is advancing his bill – and it will be brought up for a hearing in the Knesset Law Committee, which is chaired by none other than Rotem, one week from Monday