Cabinet Members Rap Netanyahu for Returning Body of Palestinian Car-rammer

A month after Netanyahu ordered the defense minister not to return terrorists' bodies to their families, he gives the responsibility back to the defense and public security ministers.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Soldiers at the site of a car-ramming at Dolev in the West Bank, May 3, 2016.
Soldiers at the site of a car-ramming at Dolev in the West Bank, May 3, 2016. Credit: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The body of the Palestinian who rammed his truck into three Israeli soldiers in the West Bank settlement of Dolev should not have been returned to his family, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Wednesday.

The decision to return the body was made Tuesday night; that day a vehicle rammed into three soldiers who were manning the Ein Arik checkpoint near Ramallah. The driver was shot and killed; of the two injured soldiers, one was in serious condition.

“Releasing the bodies of terrorists to the murderers’ families is a bad mistake that encourages the next terror attack,” Bennett said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

He said that in Israel proper, the police decide on the matter, and their policy is not to return terrorists’ bodies to their families. But in the West Bank the public security minister and the army decide.

“In Judea and Samaria there has been movement on this issue and I hope we can restore the policy to what it had been,” Bennett said.

Erdan spoke before entering the cabinet meeting, saying he would continue the policy of only returning terrorists’ bodies to families that agree to a small funeral at night. The family would also have to pledge funds stipulated for the funeral.

“The police’s policy was never changed,” Erdan said. “Regarding talks between the prime minister and the public security minister on the subject, I suggest you ask them. The differences between the police and the army are common knowledge.”

A month ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was criticized for legal moves against a soldier suspected of shooting a terrorist who had been wounded and was lying on the ground. Netanyahu announced that he had ordered Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon not to return terrorists’ bodies to their families.

On Tuesday night, after the body was returned in the car-ramming incident, Netanyahu’s office published a clarification. It said the late-March decision had been revoked and that responsibility for the issue had been returned to the public security and defense ministers.

On Wednesday the Prime Minister’s Office said Ya’alon had been empowered to make the decision on returning the body after the Dolev incident.

An argument has raged in the cabinet for three months between Ya’alon and Erdan over returning terrorists’ bodies to their families. Erdan instructed the police not to return bodies of terrorists from East Jerusalem unless the families agreed to restrictions on the funeral. Erdan and the police say they want to prevent mass funerals that exacerbate tensions.

The police have thus refrained from returning the bodies of terrorists from East Jerusalem to their families, while the army has not returned the bodies of terrorists from the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority has raised the issue with international organizations as a means to attack Israel on the diplomatic front. Ya’alon and top army officers argue that a failure to return bodies inflames feelings, leading to escalation.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews

 A Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, Poland.

Israel and Poland Fight Over History, Truth - and Israeli Students