JERUSALEM (JTA) – Those who throw rocks at vehicles or people in Israel must serve at least three years in prison under a law approved by the Knesset.
The law establishing mandatory minimum sentences for rock throwers passed on its second and third readings on Monday night by a vote of 51-17. Under the law, there is no possibility for a suspended sentence, except in “extraordinary circumstances.”
Also, convicted rock throwers cannot receive National Insurance Institute (NII) benefits while serving their terms. If they are minors, the parents will not receive their monthly NII stipends.
“Throwing a rock is an attempt to murder and there should at least be a minimum punishment,” Nissan Slomiansky, chair of the Knesset’s Law, Constitution and Justice Committee, said in presenting the bill to the Israeli parliament, the Jerusalem Post reported. Slomiansky, of the Jewish Home party, said a minimum punishment would serve as a “deterrent.”
Arab lawmakers spoke out against the law, with Jamal Zahalka of the Arab Joint List calling it the “fuel on the fire.”
Also on Monday night, Israeli lawmakers approved the first reading of a bill that would create a separate crime of incitement to violence or terrorism, which would allow the prosecution of people who call for terror attacks such as stabbings. The bill passed its first reading by a vote of 34-9, and will be brought up for its second and third readings after it goes to committee for amendment and debate.
The bill makes prosecution easier by not requiring that it be shown the incitement produced results.
Arab Joint List lawmakers opposed the legislation, but it was supported by the opposition led by the Zionist Union, according to the Times of Israel.