Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said on Wednesday that the government may not order the demolition of homes of terrorists who committed acts of violence due to psychological disorders.
This came after the Israel Defense Forces and the Justice Ministry asked Mandelblit for backing following a decision not destroy the home of 28-year-old terrorist Abd al-Rahman Bani Fadel, who stabbed 32-year-old father-of-four Israeli Adiel Kolman to death in the Old City of Jerusalem in March, but was found to have a history of mental illness.
Mandelblit wrote that because the policy of demolishing homes is meant to deter potential killers from committing future terror attacks, destroying the home of a mentally ill person would not provide deterrence.
“That person does not have the ability to consider in a rational way the realistic possibility that the home he is living in might be destroyed, and as a result of that refrain from carrying out the terror act that is sought to be deterred,” he wrote in his letter.
Since 2015, the Israel Defense Forces has destroyed 35 terrorists’ homes and sealed off rooms of a further five whose victims had not died, according to figures cited by Ynet.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman decried the decision, saying it would encourage terrorists to commit acts of violence against Jews and then use the defense of mental illness, thus enabling them to avoid having their homes demolished.