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Liberman: Rape of young girl ‘terrorism,’ attacker should get death penalty

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman calls for the death penalty for the Palestinian school janitor accused of raping a seven-year-old Israeli girl.

“The rape of the seven-year-old girl caused me deep shock,” writes the former defense minister on Facebook. “It’s not pedophilia, it’s pure terrorism, one of the most serious cases I’ve heard of in the past few years.”

“This is precisely the kind of case in which I would not hesitate to demand from the court to issue the death penalty for the heinous terrorist. It’s a shame Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to torpedo the death penalty for terrorists bill despite his written and public commitment [to pass the law].”

Although the death penalty formally exists in Israeli law, it has only ever been used once — in 1962 in the case of Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust. It is technically allowed in cases of high treason, as well as in certain circumstances under the martial law that applies within the IDF and in the West Bank, but currently requires a unanimous decision from a panel of three judges, and has never been implemented.

Legislation that would have expanded the use of the death penalty in terror cases failed to advance late last year amid political wrangling after Liberman, who had been pushing the bill, left the coalition.

Netanyahu, who as defense minister oversees the military prosecution, backed the death penalty bill in November. He also called for the death penalty after a 2017 terror attack in which several members of a family were knifed to death inside their home in the West Bank settlement of Halamish.

Police have described the motive in the rape of the young girl as likely criminal.

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