Security consultant: Random youth violence expected to increase

Experts laments "very weak justice system which lets violent offenders roam the streets."

The outlook for alcohol-fueled youth violence was grim in light of current trends, South-African-born former police detective and security consultant Marc Kahlberg told The Jerusalem Post. A 19-year-old woman was stabbed and moderately wounded by a friend in Lod during an argument over NIS 20 early Sunday morning. A second woman, also 19, has been arrested in connection with the attack. A police spokeswoman told the Post that the women were involved in a dispute over the small sum of money, adding that they were also arguing over a man when the stabbing took place. The victim has been hospitalized at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin in moderate condition. A Ramle Magistrate's Court judge extended the suspect's remand until Tuesday. Early Friday morning, 20-year-old IDF soldier St.-Sgt Ori Hen, who served in the Golani Brigade and took part in several combat operations in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, was stabbed to death by a youth recently released from prison in Rishon Lezion, following a verbal altercation. Doctors battled to save Hen's life for several hours, but were forced to declare him dead on Friday. Speaking to Channel 2 News on Sunday evening, Hen's mother, Gili Hen Almagon, said, "I know he was on his way home. The murderer pulled out a knife and a child's life was taken. I know I won't see him anymore. He won't hug or kiss me anymore. I think every parent can understand this." The bereaved mother said her son was an outstanding soldier and that he came from a family of high-ranking military officers. "When it happens to you, then you really understand the significance of senseless murder. The pain, the loss, the destruction of a family. I don't know where to find the strength to continue," she said. "We must cry out in the hope that Ori will be the last victim." "I think this is a problem which is going to get worse," Kahlberg said. "As a detective I did not wear body armor, but I think the time is coming that officers will have to wear it," Kahlberg said. "The way these kids use alcohol is a major problem. How do the parents of drunken teens not smell the alcohol on their breath?" he asked. "There are bars, restaurants and 24-hour kiosks that openly sell alcohol to kids," Kahlberg added. Kahlberg said a lack of proper education and a deadly youth culture which promotes violence and disdains human life will ensure that random violence among youths will increase. "I think there is no respect for the law whatsoever among the youth in Israel," he said. One reason is "carnage we saw in terrorist attacks during the second intifada. They saw on TV daily explosions, bombings, and tragic events. That age group knows only violence," he said. Youth violence is also a "global phenomenon" which has infected young people in Israel, Kahlberg noted. "I'm talking as an ex-police officer. There is no power or tools to use with 12, 13 or 15-year-old youths who are not really in a punishable age group. They tell officers, 'Who the hell are you? I could care less about you.'" Kahlberg lamented "the very weak justice system which lets violent offenders roam the streets," and predicted that schools will increasingly become the scenes of violence among youths and against teachers. "There is a hidden violent streak among young people, and nothing is being done about it. Much harsher punishment for violent crime needs to be introduced," he said. "All of this fighting is a status thing, and the kids will bring the violence into the schools," he said. Meanwhile, police on Sunday announced that a high school pupil in Abu Ghosh had been stabbed by another pupil after an argument broke out when the two arrived at school. The wounded pupil was evacuated to Hadassah-University Medical Center in Ein Kerem in moderate condition. According to police, the wounded pupil's brother had been informed of the stabbing and arrived at the school, looking for the attacker. After searching unsuccessfully for the perpetrator, who had fled the scene, the brother attacked the school's principal and damaged the school building. Police were searching both for the first attacker and the wounded pupil's brother, whom they said had been identified. Additionally on Sunday, a pupil in Beit Shemesh was cut across the face with a knife and lightly wounded while on his way to school, after a fight broke out, apparently over a water pipe. According to police, both pupils involved were 12 years old. The attacker was arrested and brought in for questioning. Abe Selig contributed to this report.