'Parents of stone-throwing kids will be held responsible'

Police spokesman explains rock-throwers' parents won't be arrested, looking for ways to restrain kids under 12 from throwing projectiles.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
October 14, 2010 03:56
2 minute read.
Settler leader hits rock throwing youths with car

Car hits child 311. (photo credit: Channel 10)

 
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The police will start holding the parents responsible for children under the age of 12 who throw stones in east Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post learned on Wednesday.

Politicians have been calling for this since the widespread problem of young boys throwing stones was brought to the fore on Friday, when David Be’eri, head of the Elad NGO, hit two of several children who were throwing rocks at his car.

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“We will not arrest the parents, because that would be problematic, but we do want to make them be responsible for their kids,” explained Shmuel Ben-Ruby, the Jerusalem Police District spokesman.

The police are able to punish children between the ages of 12-18 for stone throwing, but have difficultly stopping children under 12, the age of “criminal responsibility.”

On Monday, the Knesset’s Committee for Rights of the Child held an emergency session to examine the issue. At the meeting, residents of east Jerusalem showed videos of children who looked to be as young as five throwing rocks at passing cars.

“I actually think the parents are trying to restrain the kids,” Supt. Yoram Sa’ar, a youth officer for the Jerusalem District, said at Monday’s meeting.

“The ones who are inciting the children are the other, older, children, or other adults.”

Ben-Ruby said the police would continue to talk to the parents of children older than 12 involved in rock-throwing, but that the police could punish the older children. “We want to work in cooperation with the parents,” he said.


The Committee for the Rights of the Child said it will appeal to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog to prepare action plans for dealing with young rioters and their families, as well as reviewing changes in legislation to punish parents of minors under 12 who participate in terrorist activities.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel expressed concern that holding the parents responsible would violate the law.

“An initiative to make parents accountable for the actions of children under the age of criminal liability seems to lack a legal basis,” attorney Tali Nir told the Post. “According to Israeli criminal law, parents have a legal obligation to provide their children with their basic physical needs such as shelter and food, but they do not bear criminal accountability for their children’s wrongdoings.”

Two Border Police officers were lightly injured on Wednesday evening, when a group of Arabs threw stones at a patrol, in the latest incidence of violence in the Silwan neighborhood. The officers were treated on the scene.

The rock-throwers were dispersed by patrol.

The area has seen daily rock-throwing incidents since the widespread riots following September 22’s death of Samr Sirkhan, a Silwan man who threw rocks at a private security guard and was shot by him.

In the past three and a half months, more than 450 rock-throwing incidents have been reported, averaging about four per day. Police have arrested 76 people for rock-throwing in east Jerusalem during that period. Thirty were minors and 46 were adults.

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