The Knesset approved stricter penalties for rock-throwers on its second and third reading Monday night, ratifying the penalties into law amid the unprecedented terror wave in Israel.
51 MKs voted the bill into law; 17 voted against.
Now, under law, rock-throwers will be subject to the following penalties:
- a minimum three-year prison sentence, which cannot be suspended unless under special circumstances;
- a clause noting that the penalty cannot be under 1/5 of the maximum prison sentence for the offense;
- rock-throwers who serve less than three months will be stripped of their National Insurance (Bituach Leumi) benefits; and
- parents of minors who are convicted of rock-throwing or terrorism will be stripped of National Insurance payments for the entire duration of their child's prison sentence.
In addition, rocks have now been defined as a weapon under law – and, as such, the above punishments will apply to anyone wielding a knife or other dangerous weapons with intent to harm.
Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) presented the bill.
"The punishment for throwing rocks does not nearly reflect the consequences and the carnage they cause," he noted. "Setting a minimum penalty is a necessary step in order to deter and uproot the misnomer of 'it's just a rock."
Slomiansky added that the measures halting Bituach Leumi payments counteract 'double payments by the State' to terrorists, which he said are unjustifiable.
MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint List) attacked the bill, implying it would lead to more terror.
"You cannot extinguish a fire with gas, and the current legislation is like gasoline on the fire," he claimed. "There is no logic in punishing a father whose son threw a rock and didn't hurt anyone."