Security Prisoner Visit Regulations to be Revised

Public Security Minister says he'll take action after revelation that soldier's murder was planned from prison, but promises nothing.

Gil Ronen,

Minister Aharonovich
Minister Aharonovich
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Minister of Public Security, Yitzhak Aharonovich (Likud / Yisrael Beytenu), replied in the Knesset plenum Wednesday to a motion for the agenda regarding the revelation that the murder of soldier Tomer Hazan Hy”d had been ordered by a jailed terrorist, during a visit by his relatives. The minister said he would carry out "an in-depth review" regarding prisoner visits but promised nothing. 

MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) opened the discussion and stated that “the murder of the soldier Tomer Hazan Hy”d was planned from inside the prison and a serious reevaluation needs to be undertaken. This is the result of the signing of agreements with murderers. It can be likened to signing an agreement with cats and mice, to guard over milk. The exceedingly generous benefits granted terrorists in the jails must be revoked, since they use them to plan more terror operations.”

MK Yariv Levin (Likud / Yisrael Beytenu) added that “of all people, it is the security prisoners who receive generous benefits that they abuse, while regular prisoners serving time for much less serious offenses do not receive them.” He asked: “Has enough been done and is an effort at least being made now, so that the benefits they receive will not serve them for more terrorism?”

Aharonovich replied, saying that “for 30 years now, the security prisoners have had the privilege of first-degree [relatives'] visits. It is anchored in law and in international law. However, in view of what happened, I will carry out an in-depth review so that these scenarios do not repeat themselves.”

Conditions in which terrorist prisoners serve are a matter of controversy in Israel.

Critics say that the authorities have been willing to grant the prisoners comfortable conditions - including cable television and books in their cells, the right to receive money from the Palestinian Authority, the right to buy and cook their own food and more - out of fear that prisoner riots and hunger strikes would force the authorities to wield an iron fist against the prisoners, and that this would bring upon them the wrath of the legal establishment and international community. The rights accorded terrorist prisoners used to include academic studies in the Open University, but this privilege was taken away a few years ago, and the number of television channels they have access to was limited to 10.

Shocking footage has emerged which appears to show how Nadal Amar, the terrorist who abducted and murdered Hazan, passed a message via official Palestinian Authority (PA) TV to his jailed brother, hinting at his plans.

The message, read during the broadcast May 16, four months prior to the murder, has been translated by Palestinian Media Watch and reads: "the calf will soon be in the cage, and we'll celebrate the freedom of all prisoners."

The cryptic note appears to reveal Amar's intentions to kidnap a soldier and free his brother Nour Al-Din, who is serving a 29-year sentence for terrorist activities. Nour Al-Din had reportedly told his brother during a prison visit: "I want Gilad Schalit #2... I want you to abduct a soldier... A live soldier is preferable, but it doesn't matter… If need be, murder him, as long as I go free."

The broadcast can be seen here:

Amar worked with Hazan at a restaurant in Bat Yam near Tel Aviv. He tricked Hazan into accompanying him to his house in Samaria, and there strangled him to death in an open field.