Israeli Lawmaker Apologizes After Arguing Against 'Collective Punishment' for Terrorists' Families

Right-wing lawmakers criticized Gabi Lasky's 'grave' remarks on stipends paid by the Palestinian Authority. 'Anyone going out to murder Jews must know that their family will suffer,' one coalition colleague said

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
Meretz lawmaker Gabi Lasky at the Knesset, in February.
Meretz lawmaker Gabi Lasky at the Knesset, in February. Credit: Noam Moskowitz / Knesset
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

Israeli left-wing Knesset member Gabi Lasky spoke on Friday against "collective punishment" for families of Palestinians convicted of terrorism, but apologized later that day after her remarks drew criticism from right-wing coalition colleagues.

Asked about stipends to be paid by the Palestinian Authority to the family of the Jenin resident who committed the shooting attack in Tel Aviv on Thursday, Meretz lawmaker Lasky told Kan Ben public radio: “You have to look at the matter from all sides. There are children left without a provider. You have to prevent their exploitation or that they themselves will turn to terrorism.”

“I know that it’s hard for people to hear this, but I also think that there is no need for collective punishment for the families," Lasky, a human rights lawyer, added. "We don’t need to demolish homes nor to carry out administrative detention.”

She then took to Twitter to say that her statement was “out of place and did not justify this heinous act of terrorism,” and that she apologizes for it. “I unreservedly condemn last night’s horrific attack, share in the families’ pain and extend my condolences. This is not a debate for or against terrorism, for I say unreservedly that it should be fought and that everything should be done to ensure security.”

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar tweeted that “MK Lasky’s comments are grave, irresponsible, and utterly contrary to the government’s position. The rewarding of terrorists and their families for their deeds by the Palestinian Authority encourages terrorism."

Yoaz Hendel, the communications minister who is also from Sa'ar's New Hope party, called Lasky’s statement “bizarre,” adding that: “For years Israel has failed to deduct the payment of terrorist salaries from (the tax funds it collects for) the Palestinian Authority. This is a difficult step, but a necessary one to reduce terrorists’ motivation. Anyone going out to murder Jews must know that their home will be destroyed and their family will suffer.”

Since joining the Israeli parliament last year, Lasky also drew fire from her left-wing supporters. In September, she tweeted compliments to police and security forces who captured the Palestinians prisoners who escaped the Gilboa Prison.

Following criticism from some prominent left-wing personas, she deleted that tweet. “It was nonsense. I was too quick to respond, and then I deleted it. That’s it. It’s over,” she said in an interview with Haaretz.

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