Deputy Defense Minister proposes law to give soldiers immunity

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan says Israeli must protect its soldiers, proposes law granting immunity during war and terror attacks.

Uzi Baruch ,

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan
Eliran Aharon

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) announced on Saturday night his intentions to propose a new law giving immunity to soldiers who are on the battlefield and engaged in security operations.

If passed, the law would be the first of its kind and would grant security forces and IDF soldiers immunity during "operations they carried out, or avoided carrying out, before, during, and after a military operation or terror event which is not part of the regular operations of the unit to which the soldier belongs or the tasks the security officer usually carries out."

The proposed law also takes steps to ensure IDF soldiers cannot misuse their immunity, and details steps to remove the immunity.

"The new law sends a clear message to our soldiers: When you protect us, we protect you," Ben-Dahan said. "This is a very balanced law which on the one hand will allow IDF soldiers to do their jobs and protect the State of Israel and its citizens without fearing a lawsuit, and on the other allows the government to remove a soldier's immunity if he breaks the rules.

"In the past few years, we have seen too many excellent, respected soldiers and commanders suffering from misunderstood laws, which were simply not clear. We need to protect our soldiers when they are protecting us. As someone who served as a major in the IDF, I am sure this new law will help our soldiers. I have no doubts the other MKs will support this law," he said.

The immunity would protect soldiers from being held criminally responsible, as well as from investigations and legal actions which may result from their actions. However, a soldier's immunity is removed if there is a suspicion he acted needlessly and willfully to harm a person or property.

"Those who serve in the security forces endanger their own lives in order to protect the State of Israel and its citizens," Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Eyal Paltek said. "Now the Deputy Defense Minister is backing them, by working to pass a law protecting these heroes from being unfairly investigated and charged.

"This law will enable security forces, who often find themselves in complicated and dangerous situations, will be immune to any legal consequences of their actions and will therefore be able to perform better on the field," he said.

Ben-Dahan's suggestion comes just days after IDF soldier Elor Azariya was convicted of manslaughter after shooting a terrorist suspected of attempting to activate a suicide vest.