JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was “declaring war” on rock throwers and rioters following the death of an Israeli motorist.
Netanyahu held a meeting Tuesday night with top defence and security leaders to discuss the security situation in and around Jerusalem following three days of violence on the Temple Mount, along with the death of Alexander Levlovitch, 64, who lost control of his car after being pelted with rocks near a Palestinian neighbourhood of eastern Jerusalem on Sunday night.
The car then hit a pole and landed in a ditch. Levlovitch, who was on the way home from a Rosh Hashanah eve dinner, died of his injuries. Two passengers were lightly wounded in the crash.
New measures debated at the meeting included changing the protocol for open-fire orders on rock throwers, establishing a minimum sentence for rock throwers, and levying a heavy fine on minors throwing rocks and their families. Meeting participants included the ministers of defense, public security and justice; the mayor of Jerusalem; the head of the Shin Bet security service; and the director-general of the Foreign Ministry.
“We will lead systemic changes and will set a new standard of deterrence and prevention,” Netanyahu also said.
The possibility of imposing administrative detention on rock throwers, previously suggested by the prime minister, was not discussed, Ynet reported.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu visited the site where Levlovitch was killed.
“Here, in the heart of Jerusalem, at a traffic island on a main road, a thug and criminal stands here, takes a stone and throws again and again at the windshields of cars of Jerusalem residents until he manages to cause death – it did not kill, it murdered,” Netanyahu said. “This stone is one too many. We are declaring war on those who throw stones and bottles, and rioters.”