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Chief Sephardic Rabbi expresses opposition to terrorist death penalty bill

Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (left) pictured with Pope Francis in Jerusalem on May 26, 2014
Jack Guez (AFP/File)
'Only the Sanhedrin can make a ruling on executing someone,' explained the Chief Sephardic Rabbi.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yitzhak Yosef, expressed his opposition to proposed legislation that would sanction the death penalty for convicted terrorists, during his weekly lesson this past week.

At the heart of Rabbi Yosef’s concerns is that any execution of a terrorist, particularly a Jewish terrorist, could be in contravention of traditional Jewish law.

“We are not a Sanhedrin,” said Rabbi Yosef. “If there will be an instance of a Jewish terrorist, to execute him would be against Halacha (Jewish law).”

The Sanhedrin refers to the religious High Court of 71 Rabbinic Judges that was in existence during the time of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. According to Jewish tradition, only the Sanhedrin and a court of 23 can mete out capital punishment.

“Only the Sanhedrin can make a ruling on executing someone,” Rabbi Yosef elaborated. “The great religious scholars were always against the death penalty.”

The Sephardic Chief Rabbi also claimed that such a policy would do more harm than good.

“All the security officials say that there is not much benefit (to this policy),” he said.

“Let’s say there is a terrorist ‘Muhammad’ and he deserves the death penalty,” he continued. “Until the sentencing, there will be great havoc throughout the world and Jews all over the world will be in danger.”

Comments

(2)

Should be converted to jail till death and no possibility of release even for political bargain.

Agree!

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