Two Arab Israeli terrorists who carried out a deadly terror attack in Hadera in late March were buried overnight in their hometown of Umm al-Fahm after Israel agreed to return their bodies.
Family members accepted police demands to bury them in the early hours of Monday morning and restrict attendance to no more than 50 people at each funeral.
They also agreed there would be no inciting calls or banners and no processions, the Walla news site reported. However, according to the Ynet news site, there was some sporadic chanting of slogans relating to martyrdom.
Police had previously expressed concerns that the funerals could attract thousands and become rallying sites for terror.
In early April police reportedly asked Defense Minister Benny Gantz that the bodies of five terrorists who carried out recent attacks in Beersheba, Hadera, Bnei Brak and Jerusalem not be returned to their families for burial.
Unnamed defense officials, presumably from the police, told Ynet that there was a fear that the funerals could be used to incite further attacks. However, the report said, the Shin Bet security agency and the Israel Defense Forces both told Gantz they believed the bodies should be returned, particularly those of the Beersheba and Hadera attackers, who were Israeli citizens.
Police were said to be particularly concerned about returning the bodies of the Hadera terrorists, recalling the thousands who attended the funerals of two Umm al-Fahm residents who carried out a deadly shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City in 2017 that killed two police officers.
On March 27, Ayman and Ibrahim Ighbariah, cousins from the northern Arab city, fatally shot Border Police officers Yazan Falah and Shirel Aboukrat before they were killed by police during the Islamic State-inspired attack.
It was the first attack in Israel claimed by the Islamic State since 2017.
The Israel Police said the two arrived at the scene with 1,100 bullets, as well as at least three handguns and six knives.
Ibrahim, 31, was arrested in 2016 by Turkish police after trying to join the Islamic State in Syria. He was later apprehended by Israeli security forces and served a year and a half in prison for membership in a terror group.
A video circulating on social media alleged to show the two Ighbariahs embracing in front of an Islamic State flag before the attack.
Whether holding the bodies of attackers is an effective policy is a subject of debate within the security establishment.
Some believe that it gives Israel additional leverage in negotiations with terror groups, mainly Hamas, as well as acting as a deterrent against attacks. Others see it as ineffective and based on shaky legal ground.
In 2019, the High Court ruled that the IDF could keep bodies of alleged terrorists in custody for the purpose of ensuring national security, such as using the remains of Hamas terrorists as bargaining chips in an eventual exchange with the Gaza-based terror group.
The landmark decision reversed a previous ruling, in which the High Court had struck down the practice on a technicality.
Far-right politicians condemned the decision to release the terrorists’ bodies for burial, attacking the government.
“Instead of imposing sanctions on the families of the terrorists to create deterrence and fight terrorism, [Prime Minister Naftali] Bennett and [Foreign Minister Yair] Lapid are fighting for the integrity of the coalition so that the government does not fall,” said Religious Zionism MK Avi Maoz, who heads the party’s ultra-conservative Noam faction.
“Funerals for terrorists in Umm al-Fahm — why do they deserve it? Why do we deserve it? The government has repeatedly insisted on turning the other cheek to terrorism,” tweeted Religious Zionism MK Orit Strock, tagging a number of right-wing members of the government.