Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said she favored the death penalty for the terrorists who firebombed a Palestinian home and killed a Palestinian baby a week ago.
Shaked, a Knesset member from the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party, said in a Channel 2 interview that the attack on the Dawabsha home in the early hours of July 31 was “an act of terrorism in every respect.”
Israeli security officials suspect that Jewish terrorists were responsible for the attack, in which Ali Saad Dawabshe was burned to death and his parents and older brother very seriously injured when their home in the West Bank village of Duma was firebombed as they slept. Hebrew graffiti was sprayed on the walls.
Reminded by the interviewer that she has backed previous unsuccessful legislative efforts to impose the death penalty for terrorism, Shaked confirmed that she supports capital punishment for “particularly cruel” cases of murder.
Asked whether this killing fit that definition, and whether the assailants would thus merit the death penalty, Shaked said this was “absolutely the case.”
She added that acts of Jewish terrorism were more damaging for Israel than Palestinian terrorism “because our enemies use it” to delegitimize the State of Israel.
The Knesset las month voted down a bill proposed by Yisrael Beytenu that would have enabled judges to more easily sentence a terrorist to death.
The bill was rejected in its first reading by 94-6, with all six “yes” votes coming from members of Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered lawmakers from his Likud party to oppose the bill, saying it needed further examination from a legal perspective.
The bill had the support of Shaked, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, Culture Minister Miri Regev, Science Minister Danny Danon, Minister of Immigrant Absorption Ze’ev Elkin and Minister Ofir Akunis. Regev, Danon and Akunis all belong to Netanyahu’s Likud party.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein had indicated he would nix the legislation in its current form on legal grounds — or at least postpone it indefinitely, until the state prosecutor hands down a ruling on the legality of such a law.
Even though capital punishment is technically legal in Israel, it has only been practiced once, in 1962, when high-ranking Nazi SS officer Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death for his role in orchestrating the Holocaust.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.