Jerusalem Post Editorial: Basic protection

Alexander Levlovitz, driving home in Jerusalem from Rosh Hashana dinner, was murdered in cold-blood by Arab stone-throwers whose aim was hardly innocuous.

September 17, 2015 21:04
3 minute read.
Illustrative: Palestinian stone-thrower

A Palestinian stone-thrower looks on as he stands in front of a fire during clashes with IDF troops in the West Bank village of Duma. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Alexander Levlovitz, 64, was not killed in a car crash Sunday night, as some reports over-cautiously phrased it. Levlovitz, driving home in Jerusalem from Rosh Hashana dinner, was murdered in cold-blood by Arab stone-throwers whose aim was hardly innocuous.

Stone-throwers are terrorists in every sense of the word, and they are out to cause harm – preferably fatal, if they “succeed.”

Hurling rocks at moving vehicles is invariably an extreme act of malice aforethought. There are no pacifist and compassionate stoners. An act of intentional premeditated violence cannot be downplayed as nonviolent and trivialized as frivolous by harried law-enforcers, overworked prosecutors or aloof judges.

There are no scripted, guaranteed conclusions to any stone-throwing incident. Motorists may – as was the case with Levlovitz – suffer a coronary episode and lose control of their car. This doesn’t make the dire outcome the result of a random car accident because the misfortune wasn’t triggered by a medical mishap or by any haphazard misjudgment on part of the driver. In the circumstances of such attacks, there’s no telling which driver might crash and what may transpire as a result. This should be elementary to our judiciary, but evidently it isn’t.

Moreover, such essential context and information must be accentuated relentlessly to foreign news outlets, most of which failed altogether to even mention Levlovitz’s murder. Likewise, there was no condemnation from world leaders who rarely pass up any opportunity to rake Israel over the coals on any pretext.

The tendency internationally is often to belittle the crime of stone-throwing and regard it as an expression of youthful exuberance, which is how the Arab communities which send out brainwashed youths to target Jewish traffic like to present things. Unthinkably, stoning Jews has become a popular sport which is glorified in Arab society as heroic.

There’s nothing grassroots or spontaneous about the end-products of systemic and incessant incitement to homicide. Regrettably, the fact that many of the rock-throwers are young puts temptation before our clogged judicial system to process the cases speedily by meting out negligible punishments. Therefore, the latest government initiative to legislate minimal sentencing requirements is nothing less than vital.

Maximum sentencing guidelines exist on our law books – and indeed were rendered more stringent only last July.

Yet these don’t oblige judges and don’t mitigate the inclination to dispose of bothersome cases via ludicrously light sentences (some of them, involving only short stints of community service).

Significantly, the heaviest sentence imposed this year on a stone-thrower was 22 months, in a case in which a baby was critically wounded. The cumulative total for the crimes committed in that particular incident could have amounted to a 30-year term.

Attacks on innocent travelers mustn’t be belittled merely because the weapon of choice isn’t a firearm. “Cold” projectiles can also kill and they have – too many tragic times. These projectiles aren’t necessarily tiny pebbles, though size shouldn’t count here. Often large rocks are hurled, heavy cement blocks and even outright boulders.

Stones, rocks, blocks and boulders all kill.

Back in the 2000 intifada, Bechor Zhan, traveling with his brother south from Haifa on the coastal highway, was murdered by rock-throwing teens from Jisr a-Zarka.

In 2001, Yehuda Shoham, just five months old, had his skull crushed by rock-throwers.

Asher Palmer, and his infant son, Yonatan, were both killed in 2011 when their car was pelted with stones.

Last February, four-year-old Adele Biton died after two agonizing years in which she lay semi-comatose following a March 2013 stoning attack. Arab terrorists hurled rocks at the family car driven by Adele’s mother, Adva.

Its passengers were Adva’s three young daughters. As the vehicle passed near Ariel, a hail of rocks caused it to overturn.

Stoning attacks have claimed many more lives over the years and they are ongoing and rampant. Nobody is immune when private and public transport is targeted.

The very least which the state and its legal establishment owe the public is basic protection. If this realization must be reinforced by legislation, so be it.

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