Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) argued Wednesday that refusing to return the bodies of slain terrorists to their families is not a deterrent against terror.
During a Knesset hearing on the subject, Ya'alon claimed that "holding onto bodies is in itself not a deterrent to potential terrorists, as opposed to the demolition of houses or revocation of residency which are proven dissuasive measures."
"We decided to make the decision on a case-by-case basis, where the main consideration is if there'll be a massive funeral, which is why the decision was made to return bodies on the condition funerals are quiet and modest."
According to Ya'alon this was the case in the recent terror funeral in Hevron – a funeral of five terrorists that was attended by thousands of Arab residents praising terror, and which led to rock attacks on IDF soldiers.
The return of the bodies came despite a Security Cabinet decision last month not to return terrorists's bodies, and just two days after the funeral a young Palestinian resident of Hevron stabbed and wounded three Israelis in an attack in Rishon Lezion.
"This policy is consistent and prudent," Ya'alon claimed, "and takes into account moral and security considerations."
Having none of Ya'alon's assertions, MK Oded Porer charged that such policies were one of the principle reasons his Yisrael Beytenu party refused to join "this so-called right-wing government."
"Which government should we join?" he posed. "The one that on the first day announces it is not returning the bodies of terrorists and on the second returns them quietly. Stop talking strong and acting weak."
MK Oren Hazan (Likud) also blasted the senior minister for the "scattered decisions" from the Security Cabinet, wherewith "the right hand says we will not return and the left hand returns."
"The time has come to make courageous decision and implement them as well," Hazan added. "I entreat the Minister to wise up for a moment and listen to the distress of the people."