Knesset panel advances bill keeping murderers in prison without parole


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli parliamentary committee approved a bill that would allow murderers to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The measure, which passed the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday by a vote of 7-3, aims to prevent future releases from prison of Palestinian terrorists who killed Jews in swaps for either Jewish hostages or for advancing the peace process.

Committee members from the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Jewish Home parties voted in favor of the bill; members from Yesh Atid and the Hatnua party of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni voted against it.

The bill’s sponsor, Ayelet Shaked of Jewish Home, told Israel Radio before the vote that the measure would equally affect Muslim and Jewish murderers.

“Just as Arab murderers wouldn’t receive a pardon, neither would Yigal Amir,” Shaked said, referring to the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The bill would prevent the president from using his power to pardon criminals in cases such as terrorist attacks, nationalistic murderers and the killing of a child. A judge would have to approve such pardons.

Before becoming law, the bill must pass three readings in the Knesset. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said in a post on Facebook that his party will work to quickly advance the bill through the Knesset.

“Killers should die in prison and not celebrate at home,” he wrote.

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