Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz proposed an amendment to the Youth Law on Friday that will, among other things, allow for the families of rock-throwing teenagers to be fined under the law.
Now, outside of the possibility to criminally convict teens who throw rocks, a second option exists: to find defendants guilty of the crime and send them to rehabilitation without adding the offense to their criminal records. The goal is to allow them to reintegrate into society without the stigma of being a juvenile offender.
As part of the program, parents of offenders may be fined by the court – and pay compensation to victims – instead of seeing their children sent to juvenile hall.
Even when offenders are convicted as terrorists for rock-throwing under law, parents are currently involved in the litigation process. Often, parents encourage their children to throw rocks at Jewish motorists for ideological reasons, and any involvement becomes subject to scrutiny by the court.
Therefore, the bill would allow, among other things, the imposition of fines on parents whose children were convicted of throwing rocks. Thus, the bill aims to strengthen Israel's deterrence and place responsibility for minors on both society and the parents themselves.
To provide appropriate due process, the bill would allow, however, for parents to defend themselves before being subject to penalties. For example, a parent could argue that the minor committed the offense not due to negligence, but for reasons beyond parental control.
"We saw once again on [Rosh Hashanah] Eve that rocks can kill," Shaked stated Friday. "We are very determined in our efforts in the war against disturbances and rock-throwing – any attempt to carry out such operations will continue to garner a very severe response."
"Every year, hundreds of indictments are filed over rioting and rock-throwing among youths, as recent years have seen a significant increase in these offenses," she continued. "Today nearly 50% of the indictments filed with the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office are against youth."
The bill will serve as a complementary measure to stricter punishments levied against rock-throwers.
"Until now, there was an absurd situation where it was not possible to charge the parent of the minor who had committed an offense by a fine or compensation to the person damaged by the offense, unless the court had chosen not to convict the minor," she explained. "The bill puts an end to the absurd and returns the responsibility to the parents – thus, it requires them to consider the actions of their children while requiring them to pay a fine or compensation to the injured party."
"This is a very important step in the fight to eradicate the phenomenon of rock-throwing."
Shaked's announcement follows the murder of Alexander Levlovitz, a 64 year-old Jerusalem man who was murdered in a rock-throwing attack on Rosh Hashanah eve on Sunday.