Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to a key demand of Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman for his entry into the government – support of a death penalty for terrorists. The report on Channel Ten said that the agreement was possibly the last issue dividing the two, and that an announcement on Liberman’s officially joining the government could be made within hours.
According to a reform already proposed by Yisrael Beytenu MKs, death penalty cases – which terrorists who have killed or attempted to kill Israelis will be subject to – will be heard before a panel of three judges, with two out of three votes required to sentence a terrorist to death. Decisions can be appealed to higher courts.
Liberman himself is to be appointed Defense Minister, while Yisrael Beytenu would also be given the Absorption Ministry portfolio. Current Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin said that he would be very happy to have the party in Netanyahu’s coalition, while Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon is said to be bitter at being shunted aside for Liberman.
Just as important for Liberman is legislation to provide government pensions for immigrants who have not been in Israel long enough to get a full pension, another law Netanyahu promised to back. Legislation on the matter was inaugurated last year by Elkin. “If we can correct this issue and ensure that immigrants will get pensions, this will be a major accomplishment. It will bring national recognition to the status of immigrants and to the Russian-speaking population in Israel,” Liberman said in an interview Thursday.
Another issue Liberman expects to be resolved is a government guarantee that would allow young couples to receive mortgages up to 90 percent of the value of a property. Currently, Israeli banks generally provide no more than 70 percent mortgages, but Yisrael Beytenu MK Orly Levy-Abukasis has proposed legislation whereby the government would offer the rest of the guarantee. The plan is opposed by Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon.