Netanyahu okays 'death penalty for terrorists' bill

Following pressure from Bennett, PM gives green light to bill making it easier for terrorists convicted of murder to be executed.

Hezki Baruch ,

Netanyahu speaks with Bennett in the Knesset
Netanyahu speaks with Bennett in the Knesset

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has given his approval for legislation which would make it easier for courts to sentence terrorists convicted of murder to death.

While Israel has a law permitting the death penalty, no executions have been carried out in the Jewish state since the 1962 execution of the Nazi SS officer Adolf Eichmann.

Under current law, the death penalty may only be imposed by unanimous decision. But a bill proposed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party would remove this requirement, empowering both civilian and military courts to execute terrorists convicted of murder with only simple majority of judges on the court.

The bill passed its preliminary vote in January, but has remained in legislative limbo since then.

On Sunday, Netanyahu gave his backing for the bill, Kan reported Monday morning, during a meeting with coalition leaders.

Jewish Home chief and Education Minister Naftali Bennett reportedly called on the Prime Minister to advance the death penalty bill, prompting Netanyahu to endorse the legislation.

The bill is expected to be brought up at the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee – which is chaired by Jewish Home MK Nissan Slomiansky - in the next few days to prepare the legislation for its first reading in the Knesset.

The European Union has condemned the proposal, calling the death penalty “inhuman and degrading”.