I’ve had it with ridiculous pieces like “Knesset member whose irresponsible violence belies her appearance” (Ravit Hecht, May 16) – cheap propaganda disguised as an op-ed, texts that paint Israel’s ideological right as the neighborhood bully, grasping a machine gun and with an ammunition belt slung across his chest, puffed up with pride for “the supremacy of the Jewish race.”
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I’ve had it with those women – women! – who seek to undermine the serious work of women in Israeli politics by describing them as “attractive and elegant” but utterly vacant, as only a “teenager” can be. “A pretty face,” they call me. What, they ask me over and over, are you doing among all those rabbis with “their bushy beards, skullcaps askew”?
And above all, I’ve had it with the lack of originality – the endless repetition of the same “ideas.” People pay money for your newspaper, shouldn’t you try to give them some new material?
Like a freshman on his first college exam, you go over and over your checklist, which is familiar to the point of exhaustion, to make sure all the right words appear there: racism, messianism, aggression, binationalism and – of course – the end of Zionism.
Unlike Ravit Hecht, most of the Israeli public understands the need for the bill I sponsored, which would make it impossible to pardon people who murdered for nationalist reasons or similar motives.
The primary need that led me to draft this bill was stopping the wholesale terrorist releases into which Israel has been dragged in recent years. Granted, this bill won’t prevent the release of all prisoners, but it represents an important milestone on the road to the necessary revolution in Israel’s war on terror, and in order to uphold Israel’s obligations to the families of victims of terror.
Moreover, it will prevent the release of especially brutal murderers. I hope this bill will be the first swallow heralding the way back to sanity.
But contrary to Hecht’s claims, this bill isn’t limited to preventing deals to free terrorists. It also touches on two other substantive issues that merit consideration.
The first relates to sentencing in particularly egregious murders. Currently, the punishment mandated by law for murder is life in prison, but in practice most convicted murderers are paroled after serving a certain number of years. My bill would, for the first time, guarantee that especially brutal murderers never again see the light of day.
In the case of murders like that of the Oshrenko family in 2009, parents who kill their children, like Eli Pimstein, and other shocking cases, judges will be able to rule that the murderers should remain behind bars until their dying day, as is appropriate from both a moral and societal standpoint.
A few days ago, I received a call from Bilhat Azar, the widow of Judge Adi Azar, who was murdered by criminals. She asked me to do everything in my power to pass this bill, so that those who murder a judge in Israel will never again see the light of day.
The second issue relates to the authority of the courts and the separation of powers. Anyone who has followed my work knows that I’m an advocate of reducing the power of the High Court of Justice, according to the principle of separation of powers. The court’s authority must be clear, and it must not blatantly intervene in the decisions of the legislative and executive branches.
Nevertheless, the opposite is also true. If we want to create a strong legal system that will have the public’s trust, it’s inconceivable that in flagship criminal cases – that is, the most reprehensible murders – the court’s sentence should be nothing but a tool in the hands of the government.
Cabinet resolutions approving mass releases of terrorists deal a mortal blow to the status of Israel’s judges and courts. For this reason, the bill puts the authority to decide on pardons in the court’s hands. The issue of prohibiting pardons shouldn’t be a political one, but a legal and moral one that relates to the details of the specific case before the court.
I hope that despite the protests of the delusional left, which has lost every vestige of self-control, the courts will not fear to make use of this bill in the way the people of Israel expects them to do, and as they should do based on the principles of morality and justice.
The author is a Knesset member from the Habayit Hayehudi party.