Bennett: We must make sure terrorism doesn't pay

Education Minister lauds new measures adopted by Security Cabinet to counter spread of 'viral terror', emphasizes need for targeted action.

Shai Landesman,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Flash 90

Speaking to Arutz Sheva today (Sunday), Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a member of the Security Cabinet, commented on the series of resolutions aimed at countering the murderous spike in terror attacks over the past few days, which were adopted at last night's Cabinet meeting.

Bennett opened the interview by speaking about the late Michael Mark, who was murdered on Friday. The Minister said that Mark was, "a very central figure in southern Har Hevron, in Otniel, and in Judea and Samaria society as a whole. He was a man who radiated great light. This is a serious blow, and the town of Otniel has absorbed several of those in the past few years.

"We will continue to support the town not only in terms of security, but in other spheres such as education, where progress has already been made."

Terrorist's families must stop getting pensions from the PA

As to the Cabinet meeting, the Minister said there was a very serious and thorough discussion, and he was happy that many of the proposals that he raised were adopted. "Now the test is in the implementation," Bennett added, "and we'll follow proceedings and make sure the resolutions are indeed implemented."

In describing the resolutions themselves, Bennett first addressed the decision to prevent the transfer of funds from the Palestinian Authority to the terrorist's family. "The family of Hallel Ariel's murderer is supposed to receive a very large stipend from the PA in perpetuity. This is obscene. That's the way it worked until now. We've decided this will simply not happen anymore."

When asked if prevention is practicable, seeing as the transfer of the funds is simply done directly from one bank account to another, the Minister said that it is certainly possible. "We can and must stop it. The country that pulled off the Entebbe operation can stop money from arriving at a bank account. It's key to make sure that happens."

'Viral Terror'

"We're dealing with a 'viral terror' which is very different from the terror of the 2nd intifada", said Bennett, referring to the period of terror characterized by suicide bombing from 2000-2005. "This is not terror that's organized from the top by commanders who recruit someone, equip him, and send him to commit an attack. Rather, in this case, there is a systematic web of incitement from the top, through social and other media, resulting in individuals with various issues deciding that rather than just simply commit suicide by themselves, they should go and murder Jews, without anyone really controlling and commanding them."

In the face of this kind of terror, Bennett thinks, the response needs to focus on two plains: destroying the glory to which the terrorist aspires, and making sure his family is harmed rather than benefits. "We need to employ new tools to change the equation for any potential terrorist. As things stand, it pays to commit a terrorist attack as a terrorist attains everlasting glory and his family is financially set for life. Through social media we can damage the glory element, by making sure to show publicly that the terrorist doesn't get a burial among other things, and we can make sure that the family doesn't benefit and in fact even suffers."  

Bennett also suggested that family members who specifically express knowledge of or praise for an attack should be punished more severely. 

'We need to build much more'

The Minister claims that these are all practical measures that have already been legally examined and shouldn't encounter resistance from the Supreme Court or other judicial bodies.

Later in the interview, Bennett was asked about the announcement that 42 new housing units are to be built in Kiryat Arba, and claims that this represents the mere recycling of old building tenders, rather than anything new tailored to deal with the new reality.

"There is indeed a recycling, which is why we're pushing for much more broad construction," he acknowledged.

"The thing that will most deter terrorists from acting would be the knowledge that for every murder they commit another neighborhood or town will be built.

"The power of Jewish Home in the government is limited, but we're exerting all the pressure we can. We need to build far more than 42 new housing units. More proposals are on the table and the matter is still open for discussion."

'If these decisions are implemented, things will change'

Finally, Bennett was asked if he sees a shift in attitude from the new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman as compared to his predecessor, Moshe Yaalon.

Policy has changed in the realm of returning the bodies of terrorists for burial, for example. Yaalon was in favor of returning the bodies as a way of trying to calm tensions with the Palestinians, whereas under Liberman, it appears that the bodies will not be returned. 

"I don't give grades to Defense Ministers," Bennett answered, "what's important is that what was decided upon actually happens. I think that if the new resolutions are carried out, we'll see a change. Not everything that I proposed was adopted and that's OK, that's the nature of a Cabinet, but many things were decided upon and I want us to meet in a week to see that things were implemented, that the terrorist's families did not receive any funds. It's good that the terrorist's family has already been arrested, we'll follow matters and see."