Knesset passes law increasing punishment for rock-throwers

Bennett: We will not allow any more terrorists to be released; bill seeks to double punishment for repeat-offender terrorists.

A masked Palestinian teenager throws a stone at Israeli soldiers (photo credit: REUTERS)
A masked Palestinian teenager throws a stone at Israeli soldiers
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Legislation increasing the penalty for throwing rocks at vehicles to up to 20 years in prison passed into law Monday evening.
The Knesset held the second and third final readings of the bill spearheaded by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, which is similar to one MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) put forward when she held the justice portfolio.
The new law, which passed by a vote of 69-17, establishes the penalty for rock-throwing as from 10 to 20 years, depending on the circumstances.
The legislation changed the previous law, which did not differentiate among the dangers of rock-throwing, pointing out that throwing a large rock at a moving vehicle has more deadly potential than throwing small rocks at stationary soldiers.
The law increases the punishment for throwing rocks or objects at a civilian vehicle to up to 10 years in prison. If a police car is targeted, the punishment would be identical to that for aggravated assault of a police officer, up to 20 years.
It will no longer be necessary to prove that the rock-throwers intended to harm anyone, which is currently a major obstacle in trying to convict them.
“It’s absurd that, until now, the burden of proof was on the prosecution,” Shaked said ahead of the bill’s first reading. “The law will put the responsibility back on the rock-throwers and will assume that whoever throws a rock means harm. Rocks kill."
Also Monday, in a Bayit Yehudi faction meeting, Education Minister Naftali Bennett listed Israelis who were killed by terrorists released in the Schalit deal.
The comments came a day after security forces arrested terrorists who killed Malachi Rosenfeld three weeks ago, who were freed in the 2011 deal to release then-captive soldier Gilad Schalit in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian terrorists.
“Each one who was murdered has a name and a face, a family and a life that is no longer, but on the day the Schalit deal was enacted, we did not know their names and faces,” Bennett said. “It is important that we internalize that. Just because we still do not have the exact addresses of future victims of terrorism does not make us immune to it.
“That is why we are clarifying that we will not release any more terrorists – period,” he stated.
Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) proposed a bill to double the punishment for terrorist acts committed by those who were released from prison.
Slomiansky said the arrest of terrorists released in the Schalit deal for killing Rosenberg “proves that there must be a deterrent against the terrorists who try again and again to deal in terrorism.”
The legislation also states that terrorists who are freed in a deal and imprisoned again cannot be released in future agreements.
According to the bill’s explanatory portion, freeing prisoners “harms the deterrence of the State of Israel in general and the IDF specifically and increases the will and courage of terrorists to continue to perpetrate terrorist attacks of every kind.”
Slomiansky cited studies that show over half of released terrorists return to their former activities, and said the bill is meant to increase deterrence.
MK Sharon Gal (Yisrael Beytenu) proposed a bill that would not allow prisoners who committed security offenses to receive a college-level education during their incarcerations.
“We are putting an end to the sleep-away camp in prison,” Gal said. “Detestable terrorists do not need to get bachelor’s and master’s degrees as prizes for murdering Jews.”