Yesh Atid minister Yaakov Perry appealed a new law preventing the premature release of terrorist inmates from prison on Monday night, effectively blocking the measure.
The bill amends one of the Basic Laws of Israel, formulated in the 1960s, that allows the president to pardon terrorists under certain conditions. It was passed Sunday by the Ministerial Legislative Committee – but the move by the Science and Technology Minister stops the law from going to the Knesset plenum for its first reading.
Instead, it will go to the full Cabinet for a vote on Sunday.
Jailed terrorists — particularly the ones who are serving life sentences for multiple murders of Israeli citizens in terror attacks — are often used as bargaining chips by Arab nations and terror groups in talks with the State of Israel.
IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, kidnapped in a cross-border raid near the Gaza border by three Hamas-affiliated terrorist groups in 2006, was held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. His freedom and safe return was purchased after more than five years only at the cost of releasing more than a thousand Arab terrorist inmates from Israeli prisons — many of whom immediately resumed their activities against the Jewish State.
There are many who believe that if the option of early release for terrorist prisoners — “prisoner swaps” — was not available, terror groups with whom Israel deals would no longer find benefit in kidnapping Israeli hostages, and therefore would cease such activities.
Perry’s move was immediately condemned by lawmakers from the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, one of the two sponsors of the bill.
Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked, who proposed the measure together with MK David Tzur – against the objections of his own Hatnua party’s chairperson, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni – expressed outrage over Perry’s appeal.
“Tonight the truth was revealed that small politics are stronger than the blood of Israeli citizens,” Shaked told media.
“Minister Perry in the past expressed his support for the law, both to me and to my partner MK David Tzur, so his appeal is puzzling… How can the former head of the Shin Bet support releasing murderers?”
Economics Minister and Bayit Yehudi chairperson Naftali Bennett slammed the move, calling it a “mark of disgrace” on the entire Yesh Atid political party.
“Every day that this law is delayed human life is in danger,” Bennett underlined. “We will use all the tools at our disposal, including burying laws proposed by Yesh Atid, until this law is passed.
“I do not have, nor will I have any tolerance and patience for political games at the expense of laws that are essential for the security of Israeli citizens.”
Hana Levi Julian