Three terrorists who unsuccessfully appealed for the “right” to earn a college degree for free while in prison will be given a chance to try again.
Justice Miriam Naor decided that the Supreme Court will hear an appeal in the matter after a first lawsuit was rejected.
Terrorists imprisoned in Israel have traditionally been allowed to pursue higher education through the Open University program, as have other criminals. However, this privilege was rescinded during the time in which Hamas held Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captive, as part of an effort to exert pressure on the terrorist group.
Last December an appeal to reinstate Open University studies for terrorists was rejected by a panel of three justices headed by Supreme Court President Asher Grunis. “There is no law, or constitutional law, determining a right for prisoners to learn in institutes of higher education while in prison,” the panel ruled.
The real question, the judges wrote, is whether it is illegal to differentiate between terrorists and other prisoners, allowing the latter to learn while the former cannot. “This Court has given its opinion on this matter and has determined in various contexts that this is not illegal discrimination,” they stated.
The prisoners will now be allowed to file a new appeal, which will be heard by a panel of at least seven judges.
In early 2013 Hamas announced that many terrorists are continuing to learn toward a degree despite no longer being eligible for subsidized Open University studies. Instead, roughly one out of every four terrorists learn through Hamas’ Jamat el-Ahrar program.