Professor Ada Yontah, who became the first Israeli woman to win a Nobel Prize this week, shared her political views in an interview with Army Radio on Saturday.
Referring to the Shalit affair, Yonath said that regardless of the deal "Anyone who is imprisoned in Israel who is not just a criminal but what we refer to as a terrorist, with or without blood on his hands - these definitions too are unclear to me - should not be imprisoned here."
"We need to think of ways to ensure that people would not be motivated to kill and get killed," Professor Yonath said. She stressed that responsibility for solving the problem should not lie solely with Israel, but noted that Israel "should do its best" to solve it.
Asked whether Israel should solve its political problems by releasing all terrorists, Yonath replied: "It's not just a political issue, these are people who usually have no hope for the future, no reason to want to live, and therefore they don’t care if others don't live…It doesn't happen to those who have options for life…we can change that."
'I could be dreaming'
Yonath added that she doesn't believe "the number of terrorists and the extent of terror would increase if 10,000 people remain here or there, but would diminish if they would have less inclination and motivation to do it. I could be dreaming but this dream should be dreamt instead of holding on to people."
Asked whether Israel can afford to leave those who have harmed others unpunished, the Nobel laureate replied: "You could give other punishments, no need to hold them here."
Yonath noted that keeping terrorists in Israeli prisons motivates the other side to commit abductions. "If we wouldn't have these people here there would be no one to release and no motivation to kidnap."
Referring to Gilad Shalit, the chemistry professor noted, "As a person, a woman, a mother, but mostly as a human being it grieves me that a sweet boy is in prison or in captivity for over three years. I don't know whether he'll return and I don't understand why he's there."