The military court in Ofer Prison north of Jerusalem on Thursday sentenced the Arab terrorist who murdered 25-year-old Dalia Lemkos of Tekoa last November to two life sentences, rejecting the family's request for the death penalty.
The terrorist, Maher Al-Hashalmoun of Hevron, ran over Lemkos at a bus stop outside Alon Shvut in the Gush Etzion region of Judea before getting out of his car and stabbing her to death. He then attacked two other Israelis with the same knife, inflicting wounds before being neutralized and apprehended.
"We have decided to place two life sentences on the accused, one for the murder of the deceased and the second for his additional attempts at murder. These punishments are not enough to provide comfort for the family of the deceased, but they are enough to decry and express revulsion at the acts of the accused," read the court ruling.
Attorney Yossi Fuchs, chairperson of the Legal Forum for Israel, responded to the ruling saying, "the fact that the death penalty wasn't decreed against the murderer of Dalia Lemkos hy''d is a failure and moral bankruptcy."
"The Military Advocate General rejected our request that the prosecution demand a death penalty for terrorists, in accordance with the authority of the military court," Fuchs added, pointing out that "terrorist murderers are released and go right back to it. For the welfare of the citizens of Israel, the defense minister and cabinet should order him to change the policy."
Lemkos's mother Brenda told Arutz Sheva this week that the family has demanded the death penalty for the murderer of her daughter, noting "his life is not worth anything, he did not expect to live in the attack and he will do it again."
While the death penalty is on the law books in Israel, it has only been applied once against Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann. Many, including Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman and Otzma Yehudit chairperson Dr. Michael Ben-Ari have urged the state to start applying the punishment to Arab terrorists as a means of deterrence.
Strengthening that argument is the fact that jailed terrorists often have reason to believe they won't spend long in jail; in 2011 the Gilad Shalit deal saw 1,027 terrorists released, and the last coalition released another 78 simply as a "gesture" for peace talks.