'Life Without Parole Bill' Approved for Vote
The "Life Without Parole" bill has passed in a Security Committee vote, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett revealed in a Facebook post Sunday afternoon, providing a significant stumbling block for future terrorist releases.
"This moment, the government approved the law against releasing terrorists," Bennett wrote. "Today, we end the 'murder deal' - a deal which exists only in Israel. Under the new law, [terrorists convicted of] serious acts of murder could see the judge give them a life sentence without the possibility of parole."
The law was approved by a special government Cabinet, in a last-minute move decided by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week, and is expected to be submitted for a preliminary Knesset reading in a few days.
During debate on the bill, the government approved a request by Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) and authorized the Secretary of Defense to apply the law to military courts in Judea and Samaria.
The bill changes one of the Basic Laws of Israel, which forms the basis for the formation and role of Israel's institutions, and the relations between the state's different ministries and authorities.
The Basic Law of the President of the State, passed in 1964, allows the President to pardon criminals - at least until now.
The new amendment changes this rule, preventing any convicted terrorist from being pardoned for his crimes under certain conditions. The amendment seeks to allow the judges of the court during trials for nationalist murders, terrorist activity or any other heinous crime, to negate at the time of sentencing the possibility of providing future amnesty.
Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked first proposed the bill in December, but the initiative has faced numerous political and technical setbacks.