Death Penalty for Palestinian Who Savagely Murdered Jewish Teen?
After teenage Jewish girl is brutally murdered in Jerusalem, Justice Minister demands Israel finally invoke capital punishment
Top government ministers are demanding that the courts finally invoke Israel's underutilized death penalty.
What's got the whole nation in a uproar is the savage murder last Thursday in Jerusalem of a teenage Jewish girl by a knife-wielding Palestinian man.
Ori Ansbacher, 19, was taking a stroll in a wooded area just a few hundred yards from Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo when she was set upon by 29-year-old Arafat Irfayia, a Palestinian from Hebron.
Details of the attack are under a strict gag order, but local media and government officials have described Ansbacher's slaying as "grisly" and "brutal."
It is also clear that the act of violence, if not the choice of victim, was premeditated. After being arrested in an IDF raid on the Palestinian Authority's de facto capital of Ramallah, Irfayia admitted to Israeli authorities to having set off from Hebron early Thursday morning armed with a knife and intent on killing a Jew.
DNA evidence that he left at the scene led to Irfayia's swift capture. And Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is insisting that he just as swiftly be condemned to death, lest Israel further sacrifice its deterrence against such violence.
"The military prosecution needs to ask for the death penalty," Shaked told Channel 13 news. "We should not hide the truth. He killed Ori because she was a Jewish girl."
The last and only time Israel sentenced someone to death was at the trial of captured Nazi SS officer Adolf Eichmann, architect of the Holocaust, in 1962.
Last year, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to advance legislation that would have resulted in more frequent use of the death penalty, particularly in response to deadly terrorist attacks.
Israel's primary response to such attacks is the demolition of the terrorists' homes, but that has clearly not had the desired effect, largely owing to the fact that the Palestinian Authority rewards the families of terrorists with large financial aid packages, enabling them to simply rebuild. Many Israelis insist something more must be done.
As Education Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement following Ansbacher's killing, "The terrorists are no longer afraid. At this moment they are preparing the next terrible murder of Jews."
Netanyahu himself was in favor of the death penalty bill, but it was eventually shelved amid political wrangling. Opponents of the bill latched on to testimony by top security officials, including the head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), Nadav Argaman, who suggested that the use of capital punishment was "unhelpful."
PHOTO: Israelis in Jerusalem light candles in memory of slain Jewish teenager, Ori Ansbacher. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)