Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman pushed back against critics who questioned why the Halamish terrorists had not received the death penalty despite Liberman's full-throated support.
Liberman wrote on Facebook that it was impossible to execute terrorists without new legislation. "As long as a sweeping majority in the cabinet and the attorney general opposes the death penalty for terrorists, the only way to obtain the death penalty is through legislation. These attacks against me are irrational," said Liberman.
Liberman had demanded that the terrorist responsible for the slaughter of three members of the Salomon family celebration in Halamish this past July receive the death penalty. "A death sentence is the only appropriate punishment for such a lowly act,” Liberman tweeted before Wednesday's hearing. However, the IDF Prosecutor did not demand the death penalty, leaving the Salomon family fuming.
"They played games with us. They talked and talked and not a thing was done,” said Rachel Menzali, one of Yosef Salomon’s daughters. "During the mourning peariod [shiva], the prime minister and the defense minister told us explicitly that they would advance this [the death penalty for terrorists], but apparently they don’t really want to."
Israel has a law on the books permitting execution in some extreme cases, but has not used the death penalty since the execution of Adolf Eichmann in 1962 for his role in the Holocaust.
Haaretz reported last month that at a July 25 cabinet meeting following the murder of 3 members of the Salomon family, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman reportedly requested that the military prosecutor seek a death penalty for the terrorist murderer, who was caught alive after the attack. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz also supported Liberman’s position.
However, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit responded that the prosecution’s policy has long been to not seek the death penalty. He added that the issue was complex and had broad political implications, and he therefore did not want to make such a decision alone. He suggested that cabinet ministers authorize him to seek the death penalty for particularly cruel murders.