Thursday, July 9, 2015

Israel: Death penalty for terrorists gains popularity in coalition and on social media

(JPost) Legislation seeking to enforce the death penalty for terrorists gained momentum ahead of a Ministerial Committee for Legislation vote on Sunday, with some coalition ministers saying they’ll vote in favor and a social media campaign growing in popularity.

MK Sharon Gal (Yisrael Beytenu) posted a photo of himself on Facebook on Wednesday, in which he is holding a sign that says “I too support death penalty for terrorists” and called on his supporters to upload similar pictures.

“We must change the reality and eradicate terrorism,” Gal said. “Death penalty will increase Israel’s deterrence. It is moral to legislate it in order to protect the lives of our citizens.”

As of Thursday afternoon, his post had over 22,000 likes, was shared over 3,500 times and had over 1,400 comments.

Gal said his proposal has broad support from the public and that this shows the law must pass.

Bayit Yehudi chairman Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced that his party’s ministers would support the proposal.

“Terrorism is stopped with action and not talk. A murdering terrorist…must know that his life will end when he cuts a life short,” Bennett said, and pointed specifically to those who massacred the Fogel family in Itamar in 2011, killing the parents and three children, aged 11, four and three months.

Bennett called on opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid to support the bill as well, to show that “on these topics there is no opposition and coalition.”

Meanwhile, Likud ministers were split on whether to back the legislation or not on Sunday, with only Science, Technology and Space Minister Danny Danon saying that he plans to vote in favor.

The current law gives judges an option of sentencing a terrorist to death, but only if there is a consensus between all the judges presiding over a case.

Gal’s proposal would apply to Israel within the Green Line and to Judea and Samaria, would allow a majority of judges presiding on a case to decide on the death penalty, and would not allow a major-general to change the sentence (the latter applies only to West Bank residents).

The only person sentenced to death by a civil court in Israel was SS officer Adolf Eichmann, who was executed in 1962.

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On proposed a bill on Thursday to abolish the law that allowing military courts to sentence people to death and for civil courts to do the same, except for in cases of genocide.

According to Gal-On, “the proposal to sentence terrorists to death does not reflect Jewish morals or democratic values. Killing for reasons of revenge is wrong; it is unwise and unjust and its results were best described by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.”