Will Supreme Court order terrorist home demolitions - for Jews?

The High Court expresses opinion in favor of demolishing Jewish terrorists houses, rejects state claims that this would not deter terrorism.

Shimon Cohen ,

Judge Elyakim Rubinstein
Judge Elyakim Rubinstein

In a hearing regarding the petition by the Abu Hadir family demanding the demolition of the houses of their son Mohammed's murderers, High Court judges expressed the opinion that even if the phenomenon of Jewish terrorism is not widespread, the demolition of murderer's homes could still serve as a deterrent for other Jews planning nationalist attacks.

High Court judges Hendel, Zilbertal and Rubinstein thus repudiated the opinion which claimed that the demolition of terrorists' houses is designed as a deterrent for a society which has produced hundreds of murderers who performed terrorist attacks and were lauded for their actions. However such steps have no place in Jewish society where nationalist-motivated acts are rare and are excoriated by all other Jews.

Judge Neal Hendel stated that if the Israeli justice system would rule that demolition of houses is only relevant and implemented on one faction of society and not on others, this would be a 'problematic statement', in his opinion. "What difference does it make if it concerns an Arab or a Jew," he asked attorney Avinoam Segal-Elad representing the state's viewpoint on the issue.

Segal-Elad had claimed that the Arab sector had been responsible for some 2,000 terror attacks whereas only two attacks had been perpetrated by Jews, but Judge Zilbertal stressed to him that in matters of life and death the quantity of attacks is not significant.

Judge Rubinstein responded in similar fashion, stating that there may be more supporters of acts of terrorism and murder in Arab society and therefore the deterrent of demolition may be more significant "but still since there are extremists in Jewish society who have perpetrated these dastardly acts, even if the deterrent would influence only a small number of people, it may still save lives."

Rubinstein added that he could see a significance for demolishing houses of Jewish terrorists since "If five members of the Jewish sector planned attacks and three were deterred by the thought of losing their houses, then we will have done something here."