Israel on Sunday night released to his family the body of Mus’ab Al-Azali, a terrorist who was killed when he went on a stabbing spree in December. The transfer of the body was conducted under heavy guard and total media silence. Al-Azali was buried in a small family service outside the Lion’s Gate of the Old City.
IDF soldiers monitored the funeral, Israel Radio said, allowing no more than 30 people into the cemetery. Those who were allowed in were required to surrender their cellphones, in order to prevent filming of the funeral and subsequent sharing on social media.
Earlier this month, the government decided it would no longer return the bodies of dead terrorists to their families, in order to prevent their use as an excuse to riot, after a proposal by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
Speaking at the meeting, Erdan told ministers that terrorist funerals invariably turned into political events – and very quickly into riots. “The terrorists’ families turn the funeral into a demonstration of solidarity with terrorism, and incitement to further murder,” Erdan said. “We must prevent these terrorists from receiving the honor of such funerals, and being turned into an impetus for more terror attacks.”
Erdan’s position is disputed by several ministers, including Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, according to reports. The transfer of bodies under cover of night and the quiet funerals being conducted are seen as a compromise. Al-Azali’s is the first body of a terrorist who committed an attack in Yerushalayim that has been transferred this year.