Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90
Im Tirzu and bereaved families protest outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Menny Mazuz, August 10, 2020.

A group of families from the Choosing Life Forum of Bereaved Families protested on Monday night outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Menachem Mazuz, who along with Justice George Karra constituted a 2-1 majority opinion to prevent the demolition of an apartment in the home belonging the terrorist who murdered IDF soldier Amit Ben Yigal last May (Merciful High Court Nullifies Demolition of Home Belonging to Terrorist who Murdered Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal).

According to the families, who were accompanied by Im Tirtzu, the ruling of the High Court of Justice was the latest instance in which the court harmed the security of Israel and its deterrence against terrorism.

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Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg said that “the High Court justices have proven time after time that they place a greater importance on the property of terrorists than on the lives of Israelis.”

“We call on Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gantz to disregard the High Court’s ruling and immediately demolish the home of the terrorist,” Peleg said.

Justice Menachem Mazuz (R) and AG Avichai Mandelblit, Feb. 1, 2016. / Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Prime Minister Netanyahu has already requested the Supreme Court to convene a larger panel to debate the 3-judge panel’s ruling. Jutice Mezuz himself, in its ruling, suggested that a broader panel should revisit the decision, but not, as Netanyahu requested, to overturn the ruling, but to decide, once and for all, the court’s position on home demolitions.

To date, with very few exceptions, the High Court of Justice has routinely rejected appeals by terrorists’ families to halt the demolition of their homes, but instead of citing a legal reason, the court relied on the precedence it had established of not interfering in the rulings of military courts in these instances.

Supreme Court justices Menny Mazuz and George Karra now want the court to set a new precedent that reverses its past rulings, and effectively alter the military courts’ rulings that remedy terrorism with home demolition.

Yitzhak Ilan, who served in the Shin Bet from 1982 to 2012, part of that time as the Deputy Director of the Shin Bet, on Tuesday morning responded to Israeli media claims that the home demolition policy has lost its deterrence, saying that Arab fathers routinely turn in their sons to the Israeli authorities when they find out they are planning a terror attack – because those fathers are afraid to lose their homes.

This point was made on Monday by Justice Yael Wilner, who wrote in her minority opinion that “the waves of terrorism that have swept the State of Israel in recent years require effective deterrence against carrying out further attacks in the future. Against this background, the exercise of the authority given to the military commander in Regulation 119 (allowing the demolition of homes – DI) for such deterrence, is an unfortunate necessity. This despite the difficulty which is naturally inherent in the damage to the property of family members who were not involved in the criminal acts of their family member – the perpetrator.”

Merav and Herzl Hajaj, parents of Shir Hajaj who was murdered in a terrorist attack in 2017, said at the protest: “Today, Justice Mazuz and the High Court gave a green light for terrorists to perpetrate attacks against Israelis.”

“According to Mazuz and the court,” they continued, “the property rights of terrorists and their families outweigh the lives of Israeli citizens and creating a strong deterrence against terrorism. According to them, the blood of our daughter Shir, of Amit Ben Yigal, and of thousands of other Israelis is cheap.”

Merav and Herzl Hajaj added: “Whoever places more value on the property of terrorists than on the lives of Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers has no business being a judge in Israel.”

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