Interior Minister Aryeh Deri asked the attorney general Tuesday to revoke the citizenship of two terrorists who killed a soldier decades ago.
Brothers Maher and Karim Younis, from the Arab town of ‘Aara in central Israel, murdered Cpl. Avraham Bromberg in 1980 and are expected to be released from prison in the coming days after serving 40 years.
Deri, the leader of the Haredi Shas party, learned of their expected release when he took office, he said in a letter to Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara.
“It’s unthinkable that these people will continue to hold Israeli citizenship,” he said, according to Channel 12. “Canceling their citizenship will send an important message when it comes to those who have become icons for committing terrorist, criminal acts.”
Deri claimed that the two had used their citizenship to further their deadly actions, justifying the request.
In the attack, the assailants jumped Bromberg as he was heading back from his army base in the Golan Heights, overpowered him, shot him in the head and stole his weapon. They left him on the side of a road where he was found and brought to a hospital, but died soon after.
Advocates for Palestinian terror convicts, including the Palestinian Authority, have pushed for their release.
Earlier this week, Karim Younis, a member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, said in a statement that his “soul remains with those who hold the embers of the Palestinian struggle,” according to Channel 12 news.
Deri’s appeal came despite tensions with Baharav-Miara over his appointment as interior minister and health minister in the new government.
In a rare step, Baharav-Miara announced Tuesday that she will not defend Deri’s appointment to the ministries in response to High Court petitions seeking to annul his roles over multiple past convictions. The coalition has passed special legislation to allow him to serve as a minister despite a recent suspended sentence for tax offenses.
The move comes against the backdrop of already highly strained relations between Baharav-Miara and the new government, with the former having publicly criticized the legislative agenda of the new coalition and members of the latter having loudly condemned her for the comments.
The deportation of Israeli citizens who served their sentences would also likely spark international criticism of the new government.