Photo Credit: Moshe Shai/FLASH90
A prisoner behind bars at the Ramle prison.

There has been a significant development on the way to enacting the death penalty for terrorists, Kan, Israel’s Public Broadcasting Corporation, reported Monday morning. According to the report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday confirmed during a meeting of the leaders of the coalition parties the death penalty bill should be promoted. The law had passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset in January and has since been stuck in committee.

At the Sunday meeting, Habayit Hayehudi chairman and education minister Naftali Bennett told the prime minister it was possible to get the bill unstuck and that, as far as his party was concerned, there was no problem with it. Netanyahu accepted the challenge and ordered that the bill be promoted.

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Coalition Chairman MK Dudi Amsalem (Likud) said Habayit Hayehudi was not the reason for the delays, and that the bill would next be deliberated at the next Security-Foreign Affairs Cabinet meeting.

The Death Penalty for Terrorists Law is the flagship law of Yisrael Beiteinu, whose chairman, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, is in a battle for his political future with Minister Bennett. Last week, Liberman attacked Habayit Hayehudi, accusing Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of obstructing the bill.

The bill alters the current death penalty law to determine that a death sentence for terrorists would no longer requirement a unanimous decision of the three-judge panel.

“I was terribly surprised a week ago to hear the Justice Minister say that there was no need for the death penalty for terrorists, and that the current law makes it possible to do everything that is needed, and the problem is not at all in the legislation,” Liberman said at a recent meeting of his Knesset faction. Liberman pointed out that altering the law was “part of the coalition agreement, the Knesset voted on this law, and the entire coalition supported it, including the justice minister – and I did not hear from her at the time that was unnecessary. Later, the bill reached the ministerial committee for legislation which is headed by the justice minister, and she passed it on to the committee without any comment.”

The defense minister accused Habayit Hayehudi of trying to torpedo the law, seeing as their chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK Slomiansky, “is simply freezing the law and not promoting it.”

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