Supreme Court ruled: Terrorists will retain Israeli citizenship

Thursday, July 21, 2022, 15:02 On Thursday, July 21, Chief Justice Esther Hayut, the President of the Supreme Court, rejected the request by (now former) Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to revoke the Israeli citizenship of two terrorists, Ala Ziud and Muhammad Mafarja, who carried out attacks in Gan Shmuel and Tel Aviv, respectively. Deri filed requests with the Administrative Court for each of the terrorists to revoke their citizenship. (For more information about revoking terrorists’ citizenship, please click here.)

In her decision, Chief Justice Esther Hayut wrote that “the loss of citizenship is comparable to the loss of part of one’s self, and the loss of citizenship negates the feeling of belonging, of safety, and of stability of an individual. The harsh outcome entails social ostracism and humiliation that even constitute a violation of the right to human dignity.”

Chief Justice Hayut noted that the main purpose of revoking citizenship is declarative and that the aims of deterrence and prevention are only side effects, not the dominant purposes.

Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who is representing the Asoulin family as victims of terror, stated: “The Supreme Court attributes the feelings that loyal citizens have to terrorists who would like to destroy the State of Israel. Contrary to Chief Justice Hayut’s statements, the terrorists do not feel that the State of Israel is a part of themselves. They want to destroy it, and for them, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, not the State of Israel, are parts of themselves.

“Until the Supreme Court understands that what the terrorists understand well, that there is an existential war here, a fair trial will not be had under their auspices. The ruling that the Supreme Court handed down today is contrary to the intent of the law and contrary to the existential interests of the State of Israel. The ruling gives the terrorists another verification of Israel’s weakness: Other than empty words, no price is exacted for terror.”

Ala Ziud, an Israeli citizen since birth, carried out a combination car ramming-stabbing attack at Gan Shmuel Junction in which four Israeli citizens were injured: two soldiers and two civilians, an adult and a 15-year-old girl. Muhammad Mafarja received Israeli citizenship at the age of 14. The day after his eighteenth birthday, he set an explosive charge on a bus full of passengers in the heart of Tel Aviv. The explosion injured 24 people, two of them seriously.

The Haifa Magistrates Court accepted the request to revoke Ziud’s citizenship, whereas the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court rejected the request and did not revoke Mararja’s citizenship. The Supreme Court was asked to hand down a verdict on the matter. Bereaved families, representatives of the Choosing Life Forum, and Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado were present at the hearing as friends of the court to give a voice to the side of the victims.

According to the letter of the law, because the terrorists are eligible for resident status in the territory under the control of the Palestinian Authority, their Israeli citizenship could have been revoked without offering an alternative. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court ruled against revoking their citizenship.

Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado is representing the family of Hodaya Nechama Asoulin, Hy”d, who was seriously injured in a 2011 terror attack at a bus stop outside of the ICC building in Jerusalem and remained comatose until succumbing to her injuries six years later, and the parents of Tal Karmen, Assaf Tzur and Yuval Mendalovitch, Hy”d, who were murdered in a terror attack on the no. 37 bus line in Haifa in 2003. The terrorists who carried out the attacks have Israeli residency, which the families asked to have revoked in February 2021. The Asoulin family asked to be present at the above-mentioned hearing as a friend of the court.

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