A new bill proposed by Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) seeks to increase the maximum punishment for people who are convicted of aiding terrorists. In addition, the bill is aimed at increasing the punishment for those who do not prevent terror attacks from taking place even though they had prior knowledge about them.


Archive Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit/Channel 2 News

A new bill, which was submitted at the end of the Knesset’s summer session, seeks to toughen the punishment that those who assist terrorists or fail to prevent attacks from taking place can receive. The bill was drafted due to the numerous cases in which terrorists received vital aid from “third sides” as part of the planning or execution of their attacks.

The bill, a proposed amendment to Israel’s 2006 Anti-Terrorism Law, is being promoted by Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid). The bill hopes to make a clear distinction between a criminal offense and a terrorist offense. At the moment, the law states that the maximum punishment for someone convicted of knowing of a terror attack and not preventing it is three years in prison. In the case of someone being convicted of actively assisting a terrorist, the law states that the maximum punishment is five years in prison. Cohen’s proposed amendment seeks to increase the maximum sentences to five and 10 years respectively.  

“We need to increase the pressure on terrorists and their aides,” Cohen said in an interview with Channel 2 Online. The Yesh Atid lawmaker also commented on the punishments that the family members of Omar al-Abed, the Halamish terrorist who murdered three people, received. “The family of the Halamish terrorist could have prevented the act,” he said. “They should have been sent to prison for many years.” Despite Cohen’s statements, the IDF defended the punishments that the al-Abed family members received, saying that they constitute “an important and significant precedent in the battle against terrorism.”

However, the chances of the bill becoming a law are low as Cohen is a member of the opposition and is presenting the bill by himself without a coalition MK’s support. In many cases, bills proposed only by opposition members do not pass. In addition, it is widely agreed that bills regarding terrorist offenses are advanced by the Israeli Justice Ministry in collaboration with the Israeli Public Security Ministry. In this case, the bill is being promoted privately by Cohen and therefore the Ministerial Committee for Legislation will most likely either not approve it at all or add it to a similar government proposal.