Daily Israel Report

Call for Death Penalty Rejected

The family of a teenager murdered in a savage terrorist axe attack calls to implement the death penalty. Killer given life sentence instead.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/11/2009, 8:06 PM

Moussa Ibrahim Teet, who murdered 13 year old Shlomo Nativ in a savage terrorist attack, was sentenced to two life terms in prison Tuesday.

The military court which tried Teet rejected on Tuesday a plea by Shlomo's older brother Adam that the killer be given a death sentence. Applying the death penalty in this case would have multiple benefits, Adam said. Not only would subjecting terrorist killers to the death penalty serve to deter others from carrying out similar attacks, he said, it would also remove the motivation for terrorist organizations to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Terrorist groups currently seek to carry out kidnappings in order to release terrorist prisoners, he explained. If murderers faced the death penalty, Israel would not “stockpile bargaining chips for the release of kidnap victims,” he said.

Teet had confessed to perpetrating the Bat Ayin attack in which Shlomo was killed and a second child, eight-year-old Yair Gamliel, was wounded.

Israel has only used the death penalty once in its legal history, against Nazi murderer Adolph Eichmann, and use of the punishment has been discontinued. The maximum punishment meted out for crimes, including mass murder, is currently life in prison.

Adam described his day in court as “unpleasant,” due to the fact that he was forced to view the terrorist in person for the first time in months. “It's difficult for me to see him sitting there and smiling,” he said.

Adam saw the terrorist once before – shortly after 13-year-old Shlomo was killed. At the time, he was unaware of the attack that had just transpired, and chased after the terrorist only out of concern that he was planning an attack.

He did not fire on the terrorist. “I didn't know what he had done,” he explained Tuesday. “Stigmas aside, we Jews don't pull the trigger that easily.” Had he known that the terrorist had attacked local children with an axe just minutes earlier, “I would have done things differently,” he says.

Also present at the trial was Meir Indor of the Almagor group of terror victims. Almagor is concerned that “even if [the terrorist] gets the maximum punishment, he'll be released in the next exchange deal,” Indor explained.