Liberman’s party presses coalition to advance death penalty for terrorists
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Liberman’s party presses coalition to advance death penalty for terrorists

Yisrael Beytenu's MK Robert Ilatov says legislation has been languishing in ministerial panel for nearly a month

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (R) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visit the IDF's West Bank Division, near the Israeli settlement of Beit El, on January 10, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (R) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visit the IDF's West Bank Division, near the Israeli settlement of Beit El, on January 10, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A Yisrael Beytenu lawmaker on Thursday urged coalition chairman David Bitan to advance legislation to apply the death penalty to convicted terrorists.

In a letter, MK Robert Ilatov said the legislation — the advancement of which is detailed as a condition in the party’s coalition agreements — has languished in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation since late October, when he revived the bill.

“As you know, this is an important and essential item for Yisrael Beytenu and was one of the cornerstones for its entry into the government and coalition,” Ilatov wrote. “Despite this, we see there are those in the coalition who are trying to dissolve this important issue.”

The party, headed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, has long advocated introducing the death penalty for terrorists. The issue was one of its key campaign promises in the 2015 elections.

MK Robert Ilatov (left) speaks with Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman during a party meeting at the Knesset (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
MK Robert Ilatov (left) speaks with Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman during a party meeting at the Knesset (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

While the proposed legislation has previously failed to garner sufficient support, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced approval for the measure.

Following a terror attack in July in the West Bank settlement of Halamish, in which a Palestinian stabbed to death three family members of the Salomon family as they celebrated the birth of a grandson in their home, Netanyahu said he supported the death penalty for the terrorist, saying it was a fitting punishment for a “base murderer.”

Despite the comment by Netanyahu and a number of other top right-wing political figures at the time, an IDF prosecutor said the punishment is not Israeli policy, despite it being permissible under law.

In Israel, the death penalty is applicable only in limited circumstances, and has only been carried out once in a civilian court — against Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Final Solution, in 1962.

According to a poll in August, over 70 percent of Jewish Israelis said they support the death penalty for terrorists.

The Knesset has several times rejected legislation that would apply the death penalty to Palestinian terrorists, including in Netanyahu governments.

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