Minister Saar
Minister Saar Israel news photo: Flash 90

Minister of Interior Gideon Saar lashed out at Bayit Yehudi Chairman, Economics Minister Natali Bennett, as a special ministerial committee headed by the prime minister convened Sunday afternoon to finalize the list of 26 terrorists that Israel will release from prison on Tuesday, in the second of four installments that are to free 104 terrorists altogether.

The terrorist prisoner releases are a "gesture" to the Palestinian Authority that Israel agreed to make under US pressure, in order to coax the PA to negotiate with Israel over "peace."

When the ministerial committee in charge of the release of the terrorists started its session Sunday, Government Secretary Avichai Mandelblit delivered a message to its members from the Prime Minister, in which he said that all members of the Coalition are bound by government decisions.

Saar told Bennett that if the Bayit Yehudi members find it difficult to abide by government decisions, they should resign.

Earlier in the day, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation rejected a bill authored by MK Orit Struk (Bayit Yehudi) and MK Yariv Levin (Likud), which would have made it illegal to release terrorist prisoners. Eight ministers – from Likud, Yesh Atid and Hatnua – opposed the bill, and 5 – from Bayit Yehudi and Ysrael Beytenu – supported it.

The Bayit Yehudi faction said that it would appeal the decision. The defeat of a law to prevent the release of terrorists, the party said, “is a sad day in the struggle against terror. We will continue to oppose such releases with all our might. We are surprised and shocked that Likud ministers did not support the law to end this disgrace.”

"Once, the heavens shook before a decision was made to release terrorists," Minister Uri Orbach (Bayit Yehudi) explained to the members of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation. "The fact that today, release of terrorists has become a trifling matter, a means of payment for maintenance of negotiations, is something that we must warn against."