Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is in favor of imposing the death penalty on terrorists in extreme cases, but said Thursday she does not think there is need for new legislation, the likes of which Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman is currently promoting.
"There is no need for legislation since there's capital punishment even now, it's just not being used," she told Ynet in an interview. "The military prosecution doesn't ask for the death penalty, and if it doesn't ask for it—judges don't give it."
"The last time a death sentence was handed down to a terrorist was in 1994. That terrorist appealed, his punishment was commuted to a life sentence, and he was released in the Shalit deal," Shaked went on to explain. "That deal was reckless and such deals should not be made—terrorists and killers should not be released."
Since then, she said, the death sentence has not been given. "The problem is not with the law, but with the military prosecution. The defense minister can demand a discussion on the matter, a change in policy, so in extreme cases there will be capital punishment," she asserted.
Shaked gave the murder of the Fogel family in Itamar as an example of such an extreme case. "When there's a terrorist who slaughters children, then we should use the death penalty... when there are very extreme cases of the murder of several children, of families, then there's definitely room to consider it," she said.
When asked if she thinks the law should apply to Jews as well, the justice minister evaded the question, saying only that "I think there's no need to change the law, this is what I'm explaining."
The bill that passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset on Wednesday would change the existing legislation so instead of requiring a unanimous decision by the judges to sentence a terrorist to death, only a regular majority would be required.
Shaked insisted the bill would not change the existing situation insofar as military court would still be able to sentence terrorists to death.
'No sense for early elections'Another controversial piece of legislation Shaked says doesn't change the existing situation is Aryeh Deri's supermarkets bill, which would give the interior minister the authority to strike down municipal bylaws, including ones that permit some businesses to operate on Shabbat.
"Contrary to all of the spins and the media hype, it doesn't really change the existing situation. There are convenience stores, and there are supermarkets opened on Shabbat, and it will stay that way. Wander around the different cities, and you'll see nothing has changed," she claimed.
Despite the many disagreements, the justice minister believes the coalition is functioning well. "In general, it's a stable and good coalition. There are a few bumps and hurdles to get past, and these are the things that get a lot of media coverage. A lot of good things being done in government ministries don't get coverage simply because they're less interesting," she said.
"There's a record number of tourists, the education minister is significantly improving achievements in math and sciences. We're doing a lot of good things," Shaked elaborated.
She insisted it "makes no sense to go to elections. This government works well."
Shaked criticized the fact members of Knesset in Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party and in Lieberman's Yisrael Beytenu party do not support some bills being promoted by the coalition. "This is how a coalition falls apart. Even when there are laws I really don't like, I get over it and vote. It's part of the coalition. Those who want to be in politics need to know how to compromise too, there's nothing to be done about it."
She said her party, Bayit Yehudi, "is definitely the responsible partner in the coalition, which adheres to coalition discipline. I think all parties should do the same, if we want to keep having this government."
The justice minister praised the Likud Central Committee after its members voted last week in favor of a resolution calling on the government to apply Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank. "We definitely think this should be the solution eventually, and I'm very glad the Likud party has also adopted this view of annexing Area C. I'm glad at least the Likud Central Committee adopted the Bayit Yehudi platform."
Shaked said the move could start in Ma'ale Adumim and Gush Etzion. "Slowly but surely, more people are realizing this is the right thing to do, and I believe in the future it would be possible," she said.
Shaked noted Bayit Yehudi has a bill proposal to that end, and the party was waiting for the right time to table it.