TEL AVIV – Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails are barred from watching the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Prisons Service chief Ofra Klinger on Sunday.
“I do not intend to allow Hamas terrorists to watch the World Cup while the bodies of our soldiers are held in Gaza together with our kidnapped civilians,” Erdan said.
“Anyone who has removed himself from the family of nations and clings to a culture of murder and terror cannot enjoy international sports competitions that connect different peoples around the world. We will continue to crack down on prisoners of the Hamas terror organization and consider worsening prison conditions for security prisoners from other organizations,” he added.
The tournament is set to begin next month in Russia.
Erdan has decided to drastically limit TV time for Hamas prisoners despite regulations from 1997 stipulating that incarcerated persons be permitted to watch television. The Prisons Service will need to make the necessary amendments to change these regulations.
“We will continue to exercise a heavy hand toward prisoners from the terror organization Hamas and will also look at making things harder for security prisoners from other organizations,” Erdan also said.
Depriving security prisoners of World Cup games was started when 74 bereaved families belonging to the Choosing Life forum petitioned Erdan to create a “deterrent package” desgined to “prevent the terrorists who murdered our loved ones from continuing to celebrate in the prisons.”
Erdan is also reportedly hoping to cause the prisoners to appeal to their seniors in Hamas to return the bodies of two Israeli soldiers being held by the terror group in Gaza, as well as release two Israeli citizens believed to be held captive there.