After a year-long legal battle, the Im Tirzu organization released a report by the Prisons Service detailing monies spent on Arab terrorists in Israeli prisons. The report was finally handed over by the Prisons Service after numerous courts ruled that data could be released to the public.
Among other things, the Prisons Service supplies special “holiday meals” for terrorists, including those convicted of killing Jews, at the time of Muslim holidays. These meals include extras and more elaborately-prepared dishes; a chicken-based holiday meal, for example, costs Prisons Service NIS 46. In 2018 the Service spent NIS 540,000 on these meals, and since 2008 had spent NIS 6.5 million.
Entertainment is another big-budget item. Each cell has a television with cable channels, mostly for sports. This costs the service some NIS 600 per cell annually. Efforts to cut this in the past have led to mass riots and High Court petitions by prisoners. In addition, prisoners have access to almost every newspaper and magazine published in Israel, in Hebrew or Arabic.
In 2018 there were 5,753 security prisoners in Israeli prisons, almost all of them Arab – and all 22 Arab MKs who were in the Knesset in 2018 visited each one at least once. In fact these terrorists received some 41,000 visitors during the year. According to Prisons Service rules, terrorists are entitled to a visit by an outside friend or relative once every two months. Many prisoners, the report said, received visitors much more frequently.
Im Tirzu filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the report last year, but the Prisons Service resisted, saying that gathering the data would be “difficult.” The group petitioned the courts to force the Service to release the data. Im Tirzu head Matan Peleg said that “the leniency of the Prisons Service is horribly mystifying. Terrorists who killed Israelis should not be housed in the equivalent of a hotel at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer and the blood of the dead. It should be noted that statements that we have from Prisons Service employees indicate that the situation is even more serious than this, that terrorists have even more benefits than the Service admits. We call on the government to study this data and take the appropriate action, and end the ‘good times’ of terrorists in our prisons.”