One year after the families of Naftali Frenkel, Gil-ad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach, Hy”d, the three teens kidnapped and murdered by Hamas in 2014, filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the terrorist group, the Yerushalayim District Court has issued a ruling on the case.
Yerushalayim District Court Judge Ilan Sela ordered the organization to pay just NIS 38 million ($11.8 million). The families had sought NIS 520 million ($155 million) in compensation in their suit.
Sela issued the ruling, absent the presence of a Hamas representative, in which he noted the specific compensation Hamas was ordered to pay was based on a previous Supreme Court ruling. According to that ruling, each estate is to be awarded NIS 3 million ($935,000) in compensation and each claimant 1 million shekels.
The bereaved families plan to appeal the ruling. The Shurat Hadin Israeli Law Center, which represented the families, explained the families had sought to stop the flow of funds, estimated to amount to anywhere from $50-$100 million each month that the Palestinian Authority transfers to Hamas. As these funds are transferred to the various arms of the terrorist organization, including its military wing, they can be seized as part of the court’s ruling against Hamas.
Shurat Din further argued the court’s ruling disparages the lives of the victims and makes a mockery of the war on terror funding: “No $10 million ruling will deter an organization with a billion-dollar budget. The purpose of the lawsuits is to topple the terrorism, and this cannot be done through amounts that are insignificant to them [the Hamas terrorists].”
Noting U.S. courts have ordered terror victims to be paid hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, the organization said there was therefore nothing stopping Israeli courts from doing the same.
In a statement, Shurat Hadin founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said: “It cannot be that the Israeli court will spare the terrorist organization that funded, planned, and carried out the terrible attack that was etched on the entire nation’s heart. The ruling allotting a tenth of the compensation claim will severely damage Israeli deterrence and the means to eradicate terrorism in economic ways. I believe that the … punitive damages for victims of terrorism should be anchored in law for victims to receive the amount they deserve and thereby force the terrorist organizations to think twice before paying for their actions.”