During an interview with Army Radio on Thursday, Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen commented on the rising tensions along Israel’s border with Gaza and the controversial death penalty for terrorists bill. Cohen said that if Israeli politicians continue to endlessly push for capital punishment for terrorists, terror organizations will increase their attempts to kidnap Israelis.

Members of Hamas' armed wing

Members of Hamas’ armed wing Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Former Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen commented during an interview Thursday with Army Radio on the tensions along Israel’s border with Gaza. “Escalations happen sometimes in an incident that develops like a snowball,” he said. Cohen explained that Hamas is buried deep in economic hardships and therefore has no motivation to start a war with Israel. “There’s massive pressure from Egypt,” he added. “It [Hamas] knows it can’t defeat the IDF.”

Cohen also shared his thoughts on the death penalty for terrorists bill, which passed a preliminary Knesset vote earlier this week. “I think that it’s possible to understand the law from the perspective of the families, for justice and maybe for some kind of deterrence,” Cohen said. “[But] if you look at the bigger picture, in this law, the damage is greater than its small benefit.”  

Cohen continued by stating that Israel’s problem is a practical one, which doesn’t have anything to do with the law. “Even today, the law allows a death penalty and even when that happened, the punishment was changed,” he said. “Even with the current law, the attorney general will continue to not recommend the death sentence…Endlessly discussing this is likely to prompt organizations to carry out kidnappings.”