Supreme Court
Supreme Court Government Press Office

Former Defense Minister and head of the Yamina party, Naftali Bennett, has expressed sharp criticism of today’s Supreme Court’s ruling preventing the demolition of the home of one of the terrorists involved in the murder of Dvir Sorek.

“During my tenure as Defense Minister, I managed to obtain a demolition order for the home of the murderer of Dvir Sorek,” Bennett said. “And now, the Supreme Court has cancelled the order, something that weakens our deterrence. I call on the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, and the Justice Minister to demand that the Supreme Court reconsider their ruling immediately.”

Bennett added that, “In the past six months, we dramatically enhanced the damage we inflicted on terrorists, and this led to a far greater level of deterrence such that we had zero terror attacks against Israelis during this period. If the new government does not succeed in having this Supreme Court ruling overturned, it will broadcast a message of weakness to the terrorist organizations, exactly the opposite of what we did until now,” he noted.

Bennett singled out for particular mention the words of Supreme Court Judges Uzi Fogelman and Anat Baron, who spoke out strongly against the order to demolish the home of terrorist Mahmoud Atuna, one of the band of terrorists who committed the stabbing attack that killed Dvir Sorek. The majority of the Court’s Judges assented in the ruling; only Judge David Mintz dissented, arguing that the petition should be rejected and the demolition be allowed to go ahead.

Explaining their ruling, the Judges stated that the long delay between the terror attack and the issuing of the demolition order meant that it could no longer be considered a reasonable response to the crime:

“The demolition order under question refers to the demolition of a house in which the spouse and three young children of the accused live. These people are innocent of all wrongdoing and have not been shown to have had any involvement in the attack – neither before nor after the fact. Therefore, there exists a legitimate concern that the demolish would constitute a purely punitive sanction, and this is not the reason for which the authority to demolish homes was given to military officers according to Regulation 119,” Judge Baron wrote in the majority’s ruling.

According to her, “This concern mounts the further we get from the time of the attack … now five months, and is even more applicable now that the homes of the other terrorists in the ring have been demolished.”

The Betsalmo organization that is representing the Sorek family responded to the Supreme Court ruling:

“The Supreme Court will bear the responsibility for the next murder to occur. This decision hands a huge prize to terror and terrorists. To our distress, we are talking about a decision that destroys the last remnant of deterrence we have, and is likely to prompt a new wave of terror attacks. We are talking about a total reversal from persecution of terrorists and demolition of their homes, the policy that was pursued by the previous Defense Minister. We will take immediate action in the form of demanding a repeat hearing at the Supreme Court, and also pushing for legislation that will prevent the Supreme Court from meddling in security matters.”