Israel ratifies three-year minimum sentences for rock-throwing

Published November 3rd, 2015 - 06:00 GMT
Palestinians prepare to launch a rock from a homemade slingshot during clashes with Israeli soldiers. (AFP/FIle)
Palestinians prepare to launch a rock from a homemade slingshot during clashes with Israeli soldiers. (AFP/FIle)

Israel's Knesset passed in a second and third (final) reading a temporary law making three years in prison the minimum penalty for dangerous rock throwing, with 51 voting in favor and 17 opposed on Monday.

The legislation proposed by the Justice Ministry states that the minimum jail sentence cannot be less than one-fifth of the maximum sentence, 15 years, and the court will not be able to sentence a rock-thrower to a suspended sentence, except in special circumstances.

The law also adds rocks to the list of "harmful tools" in the penal code.

Anyone convicted of rock-throwing will not receive National Insurance Institute benefits while he is in prison. If a child is convicted of a security crime or of rock-throwing, his parents will not receive NII Benefits while he is serving his sentence.

Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) presented the bill to the Knesset, explaining that "the punishment for throwing rocks is far from reflecting the ramifications and the death they cause.

"A minimum punishment is necessary to create a deterrent and uproot the assumption that 'it's just a stone,'" He added. "Throwing a rock is an attempt to murder and there should at least be a minimum punishment."

MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint List) spoke out against the law, saying "fires cannot be put out with gas, and this law is throwing gas on a fire."

According to Zahalka, "there is no logic in punishing a father whose son threw a rock ... while the father of a child who stabbed his friend in school won't be punished."

By Lahav Harkov


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