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Israeli Cabinet to Vote on New Punishments for Stone Throwing

Israel is mulling a move to hit stone throwers' parents where it hurts: in the pocket.

The security cabinet will vote Thursday on a range of new measures aimed at punishing the parents of youths convicted of stone throwing.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared “war” on stone-throwing following the death of an Israeli man in an attack earlier this month. Israeli police said the man’s vehicle fatally crashed after it was hit by a rock, thrown by Arabs, in the Jerusalem area on September 15.

The proposed penalties up for a vote Thursday would hit offenders’ parents financially, the Justice Ministry said in a statement. For the duration of their child’s sentence parents would be denied benefits under the new measures including child benefits, income support, disability allowance and study grants.

The new penalties would include a minimum, three-year sentence for people found guilty of throwing stones or Molotov cocktails, the ministry added.

Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, from the right-wing Jewish Home party, said that while stone-throwing by youths is a sensitive issue, parents bear the greatest responsibility for it.

"The proposed bill will hurt the most important place, a person’s pocket," Shaked said in the statement. "All this in an attempt to prevent those children who are caught up in a false ideology and incitement, to deteriorate into the cycle of crime. Also, children who have been sentenced for acts of terrorism, there is no reason that the country would continue to pay them any benefits.”

Rock throwing is seen as a symbol of Palestinian protest against Israel and presents a challenge to law enforcement due to the difficulties in gathering evidence, identifying and punishing offenders.

Over the weekend, Israeli police arrested 48 suspects in stone-throwing and firebombing incidents, according to The Associated Press.

"Rocks and firebombs are lethal weapons. They kill and have killed," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday. "Those who try to harm us, we will harm them."