Congress Considers $5 Million Reward for Information on Israeli Teens’ Deaths

The House and Senate bills create a cash incentive for intelligence on possible terrorist involvement.

Israelis mourns and light candles in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on June 30, 2014 after the announce that the bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers were found. Israel confirmed finding the bodies of three teenagers who disappeared in the southern West Bank on June 12, blaming the Islamist Hamas movement for their kidnapping and murder.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
July 15, 2014, 5:52 p.m.

Grap­pling for a way to as­sist Is­rael, law­makers will con­sider le­gis­la­tion that would re­quire the State De­part­ment to of­fer as much as $5 mil­lion for in­form­a­tion on the kid­nap­ping and murder of a U.S.-Is­raeli dual cit­izen, whose killing along with two oth­er boys has sparked days of re­lent­less fight­ing between Is­rael and Hamas.

The Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee will de­bate and mark up the bill on Wed­nes­day. A com­pan­ion bill in the House had not yet been put on the House For­eign Af­fairs Com­mit­tee cal­en­dar.

“The Is­raeli gov­ern­ment’s re­cent ac­tion against Hamas is a just and ap­pro­pri­ate mis­sion to both bring the ter­ror­ists re­spons­ible to justice and to de­grade their cap­ab­il­ity to launch fur­ther at­tacks,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, the lead spon­sor of the Sen­ate bill.

“Giv­en [Naf­tali Fraen­kel’s] cit­izen­ship, I be­lieve the United States should demon­strate our clear sup­port for Is­rael by of­fer­ing a re­ward as we tra­di­tion­ally have in ter­ror­ist at­tacks in­volving Amer­ic­ans,” Cruz ad­ded. “This sup­port should be un­der­stood in the con­text of our part­ner­ship with the na­tion of Is­rael in the fight against rad­ic­al Is­lam­ic ter­ror­ism, which is our fight as well.”

The U.S. has offered cash re­wards for in­tel­li­gence on in­ter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ist activ­ity through the Re­wards for Justice pro­gram in the Bur­eau of Dip­lo­mat­ic Se­cur­ity at the State De­part­ment since 1984. More than $125 mil­lion has been paid to roughly 80 people who provided ac­tion­able in­form­a­tion that led to the ar­rest of sus­pec­ted ter­ror­ists or the pre­ven­tion of ter­ror­ist activ­ity.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the de­cision to re­com­mend to the sec­ret­ary of State that a re­ward be offered is left up to the fed­er­al agen­cies in­volved in a ter­ror­ism case, al­though Con­gress has weighed in on pre­vi­ous in­cent­ives, such as when the Sen­ate voted in 2007 to double the re­ward for Osama bin Laden.

This case is dis­tinct in that the United States is look­ing to as­sist an­oth­er coun­try as it searches for more in­form­a­tion about the kid­nap­ping of three teen­agers — Fraen­kel as well as Is­rael­is Gil­ad Shaer and Ey­al Yi­frah.

“The fact that one of the three boys was Amer­ic­an is sig­ni­fic­ant,” said Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Doug Lam­born of Col­or­ado, the primary spon­sor of the House bill. “It’s im­port­ant that Amer­ica show re­solve and bring to justice those who kill Amer­ic­ans abroad.”

What We're Following See More »
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
1 days ago

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
2 days ago

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
2 days ago

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
2 days ago
California: It’s Not Over Yet
2 days ago

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.