Jerusalem light rail.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The government will pay compensate for property harmed in violence relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict, according to regulations the Knesset Finance Committee authorized on Thursday.
The measure allows for the government to pay damages caused by hate crimes. The policy on such compensation was vague for years, as it only applied to damages in wartime.
This came to light in recent months following rioting in east Jerusalem, especially the millions of shekels of damage Arab rioters caused to the light rail, and far-right “price tag” vandalism.
Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) said he hopes that, rather than pay for property damages every time there is a riot, the government will work to prevent such violence.
“The police must use every means possible to prevent harm to the light rail, which serves all Jerusalem residents regardless of their origins,” he said.
Slomiansky asked who decides whether damage is caused because of ethnic conflict or for other reasons, and Shai Somekh, a Justice Ministry adviser on legislation, said the police has the authority to do so.
If eventually it is proven that the damage was caused because of criminal motives or anything other than the Arab-Israeli conflict, the government can demand that the money be returned, Somekh added.
MK Stav Shaffir (Labor) asked if “price tag” vandalism is included in the regulations, and Somekh answered in the affirmative.
However, Somekh said the measure only applies to areas within the Green Line.
NGO Tag Meir released a statement following the meeting saying that the regulations will not apply to victims of “price tag” vandalism, even though the regulation explicitly mentions “price tag” acts as falling under its jurisdiction.
“The State of Israel only pays compensation for victims of Arab terrorism and cruelly ignores Jewish terrorism, and ignores Israeli Arabs and residents of Judea and Samaria who were harmed,” the statement read, though the measure does not differentiate between ethnicities of the victims or the perpetrators.