MKs push through tough bills against terrorists' families

Less than an hour after the deadly attack, Knesset passes in preliminary readings two related bills.

knesset 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
knesset 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
While many right-wing MKs blamed lax government policies toward terrorists' families as providing fertile ground for Wednesday's terror attack, the Knesset passed in preliminary readings two bills seeking to increase the price of terror for those families. Less than an hour after the deadly attack on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road, the Knesset approved a law proposed by MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) that would negate the citizenship of anyone who participated in a terror attack or was a member of a terrorist organization. The government initially opposed Edelstein's proposal, but minutes after word of the attack rippled through the Knesset, the government announced that coalition members would be allowed to vote their conscience on the issue. That decision led to a victory for Edelstein's bill, which passed easily with a vote of 39 to 16 with one abstention. "This is an extremely appropriate answer to the terror attack that occurred in the center of town today," said Edelstein. "We must prevent, through the law, the granting of social rights and especially of Israeli identity cards to murderers who seek to kill us, whose entire purpose is erasing the Israeli identity." The Knesset also passed in its preliminary reading a bill submitted by MK Nissan Slomiansky (NU/NRP) that would prohibit mourning ceremonies in memory of terrorists - including the erection of mourning tents like the one that generated a furious public backlash at the home of the terrorist who carried out the March shooting attack at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva. Slomiansky also submitted a proposal parallel to Edelstein's that also called for stripping rights of citizenship to terrorists' families. Slomiansky emphasized that "residents who live among us and enjoy rights but decide to cross over to the enemy and attack Israeli citizens should be punished as seriously as possible. As a deterrent punishment, the rights of their families should also be restricted, since it is likely that they knew the terrorist's intentions." It was exactly this lack of a deterrent, said right-wing MKs, that led to Wednesday's attack. "Whoever failed to expel the family and destroy the house of the terrorist who carried out the attack at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva carries responsibility for the attack in downtown Jerusalem," said NU/NRP chairman Zevulun Orlev. "It is forbidden to act with tolerance when murder is involved, and I plan to change the law so that every worker who comes into contact with the public and whose salary is paid by public funds will be required to undergo a security check, just like state employees."