The Israeli Ministerial Committee on Legislative Matters on Sunday approved legislation allowing a death penalty for terrorists.
The bill, proposed by Otzma Yehudit Knesset member Limor Son Har-Melech, and advanced by the party’s chairperson and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, still must pass several readings in the Knesset plenum before it can be ratified into law.
The measure will reach the Knesset for preliminary approval this Wednesday and will then be debated by the National Security Cabinet prior to its first reading.
According to the explanatory section in the measure, “The purpose of this law is to cut off terror at its source and create heavy deterrence. No more ‘all inclusive’ jails. No more letting terrorists go free after having served half their sentence.”
Under the law, the court can sentence to death anyone who “intentionally or out of indifference causes the death of an Israeli citizen when the act is carried out from a racist motive or hate to a certain public . . . and with the purpose of harming the State of Israel and the rebirth of the Jewish people in its homeland.”
If the crime is committed in Judea and Samaria, the punishment will apply in the military courts, even when the ruling is not unanimous, albeit under the IDF. Nor can it be reduced after being finalized in a regional court.
“On this difficult day, when two Israeli citizens were killed in a Palestinian terror attack, there is nothing more symbolic than passing a death penalty for terrorists law,” Ben Gvir said in a joint statement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We will continue acting in all methods, on security in operational missions and in legislation, in order to deter terrorists and safeguard Israel’s security. Our answer to terror is to strike terror forcefully and deepen our roots in our land,” the prime minister added.
The approval came despite opposition from Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miari, who issued a legal opinion last week claiming there was a “legal impediment” to voting on the measure before the National Security Cabinet met to determine whether a death penalty serves as a deterrent.