Israeli Ministers Back Barring Welfare Payments to Freed Security Prisoners

Security prisoners freed early in political deals will not be eligible for welfare payments for the duration of their original sentences.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided Sunday to support a bill barring security prisoners with Israeli citizenship from receiving national insurance benefits if released in a prisoner exchange agreement. The ban will last for the full period to which the prisoner was sentenced.

Proposed by coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud), the bill refers to welfare payments and national insurance benefits that are the right of every citizen and resident. However, prisoners do not receive them for the duration of their sentence.

The new law would ensure that security prisoners released early under a political agreement would not receive benefits until the end of their original sentence.

"I applaud the decision to approve this important bill and hope that it becomes law as soon as possible," Levin said following the committee's decision. "It will bring an end to the absurd situation in which a security prisoner is released without completing his prison term, either under a deal or an agreement, and at the same time receives benefits from the state."

Israel freeing 26 Palestinian prisoners to keep U.S.-sponsored peacemaking on course for a second round of talks, Gaza Strip, August 14, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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