Representatives of the families of the hostages asked National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir not to advance legislation on the death penalty for terrorists that his Otzma Yehudit party was advocating, during a meeting of the National Security Committee on Monday.
“The timing of this risks the lives of our loved ones beyond the existing risk and it doesn’t even serve any public purpose,” they said. “The death penalty is a sensitive subject that must be discussed behind closed doors and in professional forums.”
“The debate over the death penalty for terrorists is an attack of mental terror, a flammable product that endangers the lives of kidnapped children,” said Rep. Noam Dan.
The families’ request was ignored by the Otzma Yehudit deputies present at the meeting, who explained why the law was necessary but did not address the issue of timing.
Israeli MP tells hostages’ families they ‘don’t have warrants under penalty of pain’
MP Almog Cohen told the families they did not have “a mandate on pain.
MP Limor Son-Har Melech said she had been trying to advance the law for 20 years. her husband was murdered in a terrorist attack.
Apart from Otzma Yehudit, members of the coalition and the opposition also declared themselves against the law or against the timetable.
Education Minister Yoav Kisch (Likud) said the law would not be adopted now.
“The scenes in today’s Knesset are unnecessary,” he said. “They are harming the war effort, and in particular the families of the hostages who are going through their most difficult times. Stop engaging in petty politics.”
Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar (Likud) said he still supports the death penalty for terrorists, but that now is not the right time.
“Enough with these policies right now,” he said. “We must focus solely on winning and returning the hostages home.”
Coalition Chairman Ofir Katz (also Likud) promised that the bill would not be brought to the Knesset plenum for a vote.
“The families of the hostages are crying out their pain and that of an entire nation,” said opposition leader Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid). “There is no limit to the absurdity and shamelessness of coalition members preaching to families. What Almog Cohen did today will be remembered forever. He must have ashamed of himself.”