The Truth About the Conditions of Security Prisoners in Israel

The current hunger strike by security prisoners is attempting to paint the conditions of prisons in Israel negatively. In reality, the conditions in Israeli prisons are better than those in the Palestinian Authority, Gaza, in the Arab World and even in the West. Here is the truth about the conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.


Palestinian security prisoners in Israel regularly attempt, and especially now during their current hunger strike, to present Israeli prisons in a negative way. The prisoners participating in the strike, terrorists responsible for the deaths of many Israelis, complain of the "harsh conditions" in Israeli jails and are demanding "critical" benefits such as public telephones in prison wings and the ability to receive college education. Anyone who knows the Israeli prison system knows that the conditions of security prisoners meet a very high standard. Prisoners in the Palestinian Authority, Gaza, and even in the Western world, can only dream of the benefits that prisoners in Israel receive.

So, what are the conditions for security prisoners in Israel?

As of March 2017, there are 6,100 security prisoners in Israeli jails, most of them between the ages of 18 and 25. According to the definition, security prisoners in Israel are those convicted of an offense that involves harm to the State of Israel or a nationalistic motive. Over 2,000 are serving their sentences for being directly responsible for the murder of Israelis. Security prisoners are spread throughout different prisons in Israel. Ketziot Prison houses the largest amount of security prisoners, over 1,700, while Ofer Prison being the second housing over 1,000 inmates.  

Security prisoners in Israel are entitled to a number of  basic rights, as well as receiving additional benefits. Under the basic conditions, inmates are entitled to meet with an attorney (within a professional framework), receive medical treatment, religious rights, basic living conditions (such as hot water, showers and sanitation), proper ventilation and electric infrastructure. They also receive regular visits from the Red Cross and education as well.   

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Apart from these basic conditions, security prisoners in Israel's are entitled to receive newspapers, send and receive letters and read and keep their own books. Prisoners are even permitted to buy goods from the prison's canteen, which is run by the inmates themselves. If that is not enough,relatives of prisoners can deposit money for them at the post office's bank. As a part of the living conditions, prisoners receive family visitations, television watching hours and even electrical appliances, such as kettles and mosquito killers. On top of it all, many security prisoners receive monthly salaries, which can sometimes reach up to 12,000 NIS a month, from the Palestinian Authority for carrying out their murderous crimes. COGAT recently posted a report describing the funding by the Palestinian National Fund to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails. This report can be found here.   

Using this information, it can be determined that it is better to be behind Israeli prison bars than it is to be in the streets of Hamas controlled Gaza. Israel grants all these rights to prisoners who, more often than not, attempt even from their prison cells to carry out attacks against Israel's citizens.

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The conditions in Israeli prisons stand out as exceptionally good when contrasted to Hamas' prisons in Gaza, where inmates are regularly executed without trial. Further, according to media reports, Hamas keeps secret prisons, where they hold and torture political opponents. The UN, Foreign Governments, the EU and International Human Rights Organizations have condemned on many occasions the executions by Hamas and have called for an end to the death penalty in the Gaza Strip.

The conditions in Israeli prisons stand out even when being compared to the poor conditions of the Palestinian Authority's prisons. It was reported in the past years that many inmates are tortured in the PA's prisons. Electric shocks, club beatings, psychological torture, sleep deprivation and even torturing prisoners wives are all part of the arsenal. In an interview with the Palestinian newspaper, a Hamas member who was an inmate in both Israeli and PA jails described the situation in Palestinian prisons as "brutal and barbaric, especially in comparison to Israel."

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Upon close examination, the facts are clear- the conditions in Israeli prisons are significantly better than conditions in prisons in the region and even than many Western countries. The Israeli Prison Services cares, protects the rights, and respects prisoners in Israeli jails. But, apparently, for those security prisoners on strike, it is not enough.