The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved on Sunday the first bill submitted by Minister Ayelet Shaked, stiffening the punishments and penalties meted out to individuals convicted of rock throwing.
The Committee decided to bring the "continuity principle" to bear on the bill, which was originally submitted by former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in the previous government, but passed only in the first reading. The continuity principle means that the bill will not have to be brought to a first reading again, and will advance immediately to the second and third readings.
Currently, Israeli law differentiates between “protest” rock throwing and rocks thrown to cause damage or death. But, according to Shaked's proposal, penalties, including a jail sentence of ten years, would apply no matter what the thrower's supposed intent.
In documents filed in advance of the Committee discussion, Shaked said that the law as it currently stands is insufficient “and does not provide a proper response to the many incidents of rock throwing that may not contain a specific intent, but cause a great deal of damage."
“For example, when rocks are thrown during a riot, not all those participating in the riot may have a specific intent. The current maximum term for any case of rock throwing is 20 years, and that does not properly respond to the threat to the safety of individuals,” Shaked wrote, adding that the vast majority of rock throwers are given minimal punishments.
In addition, Shaked's proposal would expand the law against rock throwing to stiffen punishments for individuals who throw rocks at police or police vehicles. Such attacks would be subject to a special penalty and harsher punishments would be imposed.