Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails are to be forbidden from watching next month’s World Cup, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told prisons service chief Ofra Klinger on Sunday.
“I have no intention of allowing Hamas terrorists to watch the World Cup, at a time when the bodies of our soldiers are being held in Gaza, together with our kidnapped citizens,” Erdan said.
The minister brought together legal experts to examine the possibility of changing regulations to prevent security prisoners from watching specific TV channels — an idea that is complicated by the fact that security prisoners and detainees under arrest are not kept separated and that the regulations say detainees have to be allowed to watch.
“Whoever has left the family of nations and and chosen the culture of murder and terror should not enjoy an international sports competition that brings together people from all over the world,” the minister said.
“We will continue to exercise a heavy hand toward prisoners from the terror organization Hamas and will also look at making things harder for security prisoners from other organizations.”
The idea of depriving security prisoners of World Cup broadcasts came from 74 bereaved families belonging to the “Choosing Life” forum, who said they hoped Erdan’s move would be the first in a series to create a “deterrent package” and to “prevent the terrorists who murdered our loved ones from continuing to celebrate in the prisons.”
During the summer 2014 Gaza war, Hamas captured and is still believed to be holding the remains of two Israeli soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.
In the following year, two apparently mentally ill Israeli civilians, Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, entered the Gaza Strip of their own volition and were taken captive by Hamas. They are assumed to be captive in the enclave.