Education Minister Naftali Bennett has tentatively endorsed equal punishment for Jewish and Arab terrorists, including house demolitions and the death penalty.
When asked on Army Radio whether Jewish terrorists should receive the death penalty, he replied:
“If there will be a trend… and again, there still needs to be an asterisk because I haven’t yet seen the evidence, but on the assumption that we will see a trend, then we need to employ equivalent tools [for punishing Jewish and Arab terrorists].”
Bennett also said that he supports the policy of detention without trial for suspected Jewish terror suspects, which went into effect last week.
“Yes, I support it with a heavy heart, but support it with a balance between the individual’s rights and freedom and the safeguarding of Israel’s security and the preventing of these incidents,” Bennett said.
“I said, and I reiterate that it is right to use administrative detentions sparingly and with great caution,” he added.
Bennett’s comments came as two more Jewish suspects were put on six months administrative detention in the ongoing investigation of the arson attack on a Palestinian family, and after a second victim died on Sunday.
Meir Ettinger and Eviatar Slonim were both placed under six-month administrative detention. Mordechai Mayer was already being detained without trial as of last week.
Israeli human rights activists who advocate on behalf of Palestinians, as well as lawyers for the Israeli suspects, criticized the use of administrative detention as a draconian measure intended to appease an Israeli public shocked at the firebomb attack.
“It is carried out based on an administrative order only, without indictment or trial, and the detainee cannot defend himself against the allegations as the evidence is classified,” a statement by human rights group B’Tselem said.
“This measure is dangerous…for the entire legal system and for democracy,” said Aharon Rozeh, a lawyer for Ettinger and Slonim, who said his clients were innocent.
Israeli authorities also carried out arrest raids Sunday in two outposts in Yehudah and Shomron. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri would not say whether the arrests were linked to the arson attack, only that they were connected to “a number of events that occurred recently” in the region.