"Whoever throws rocks has blood on his head [i.e. blood on his hands – ed.]," Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat declared upon leaving the funeral procession of Alexander Levlovitz, 64, on Wednesday, days after the Israeli grandfather was murdered by rock-throwers in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon HaNetziv.
"There is no doubt that the government and all the system must increase the punishment [for rock-throwing] and produce deterrence," Barkat stated as he left the funeral hall. "A teen who throws a rock – blood is on his head […] he will sit for a long time in prison and his family will pay expensive fines."
"Once that happens, every youth will think a thousand times before picking up a rock or other weapons and murdering people, and that's where we need to get to," he added. "[I] remind everyone that we are far from where we should be. The punishment must change and we must come to terms with this reality."
Barkat also refused to accept various excuses leftists and others have touted for the increased rock-throwing in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, including socioeconomic distress.
"There are zero excuses for violence," Barkat stated. "I do not accept any excuse to use violence, and certainly not to kill people."
"We only have one police force and I fully support the police and the need to bring the situation to a place where there is no terrorism, no rock-throwing in Jerusalem or anywhere else in the country," he continued. "We must think outside the box. Investment in infrastructure, and enforcement – everything we can do, we will."
"Israel must act to eradicate terrorism and rock-throwing."
Barkat also urged residents of Jerusalem not to let terrorists win via fear-mongering.
"Terrorists who throw rocks want to paralyze us with fear, they want to disrupt our daily routine, and we must conquer this fear and go on with our lives," he said. "This should be every resident's answer – that we will continue to build, that while we cry in our hearts, we will continue forward."