Israeli Ministers Give Initial Nod to Revoking Benefits From Terrorists' Families

A committee will study the possibility of revoking social benefits from the families of Israel citizens and residents convicted of acts of terror, though legal obstacles are expected

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The cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.
The cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

The Israeli government moved on Sunday to revoke social benefits from terrorists' families who are residents of Israel or hold citizenship.

The proposal, which comes on the heels of two recent attacks perpetrated by Arab citizens of Israel, still faces many hurdles before it can be enacted.

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The cabinet voted to establish a committee that will study the possibility of revoking social benefits from these families. The proposed committee will formulate a policy that will enable the state to annul payments and social benefits allocated to the relatives of Israeli citizens who have committed acts of terror or security offenses.

The proposal was made by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Labor Minister Meir Cohen.

The proposed policy is expected to encounter significant legal obstacles in light of recent court rulings. In July 2021, the High Court of Justice discussed an amendment to the National Security Law that would allow the state to deny national security benefits to the parents of a minor in prison for security violations. The High Court ruled that this amendment is unconstitutional and an infringement of the right to equality and gave the Knesset one year to correct the law, but the Knesset has yet to do so.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting on Sunday.

The committee has 60 days to submit its recommendations to the cabinet. It will be made up of director generals and representatives from various ministries and government agencies associated with security, legal and welfare issues. The team will also need to recommend legislation that the policy may require.

At the start of the meeting, Bennett said that “Israel will settle accounts with anyone who has a connection, direct or indirect, to terror attacks,” adding that Israel had "gone on the offensive."

“Meanwhile, we're operating in other enemy arenas, near and far, night and day, to strike at the roots of the terror. We will reach everywhere we must at any time to root out these terrorist activities.”

During the meeting, Yesh Atid's Meir Cohen and Yoaz Hendel got into a spat with Meretz lawmaker Esawi Freige over the move to revoke the benefits. Freige argued that children will be punished over their parents' actions and asked why similar sanctions were not applied to the children of other criminals.

Hendel responded that all kinds of payments should be revoked to the families of terrorists to deter potential terrorists, thereby reducing attacks and saving lives.

Israel is in the midst of a terror wave, with the most recent attack occurring Thursday in Tel Aviv in which three people were killed by a gunman from the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

Two recent attacks were perpetrated by Arab citizens of Israel. On March 22, A Bedouin man affiliated with ISIS killed four people in a stabbing attack in the southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva before being shot. On March 27, two Arab Israelis from the town of Umm al-Fahm shot and killed two border police officers in Hadera before being killed themselves by security forces near the scene.

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