JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails will not be permitted to watch the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan reportedly ordered the Israel Prisons Service to block the Hamas prisoners from watching the matches, which are very popular in Israel and throughout Europe.
The 2018 World Cup tournament begins next month in Russia.
“I have no intention to let Hamas terrorists watch the World Cup while the bodies of our soldiers are held in Gaza along with our kidnapped citizens,” Erdan said Sunday, Haaretz reported.
“Anyone who has removed himself from the family of nations and clings to a culture of murder and terror cannot enjoy international sports competitions that connect different peoples around the world. We will continue to crack down on prisoners of the Hamas terror organization and consider worsening prison conditions for security prisoners from other organizations,” he said.
Erdan is looking into cancelling all television or severely limiting the available channels for Hamas prisoners.
Regulations from 1997 require that prisoners be allowed to watch television.
“We will continue to exercise a heavy hand toward prisoners from the terror organization Hamas and will also look at making things harder for security prisoners from other organizations,” Erdan also said.
He reportedly is trying to make the prisoners miserable enough to appeal to their terror organization and encourage them to return the bodies of two Israeli soldiers being held by Hamas in Gaza, as well as to release two Israeli citizens being held there.
Other methods include stopping visits from Gaza, not returning the bodies of terrorists and worsening the prison conditions of terrorists to the minimum required by international law.