Israel Should Adopt the Broken Windows Theory

The writer elucidates what he believes is the way to deal with Arab rock-throwers.

Ronn Torossian,

Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian


Maybe it’s time Israel adopted the broken windows theory which worked so well for New York City.  In the 1990’s, Mayor Rudy Giuliani turned around NYC by aggressively pursuing a “zero tolerance" attitude towards crime.  Together with the police commissioner, he strictly enforced the law against subway fare evasion, public drinking, public urination, graffiti artists and the much-feared "squeegee men.”


The attitude was that small crimes that are treated lightly can make way for larger crimes – and indeed rates of both petty and serious crime fell suddenly and significantly, and continued to drop for the following ten years. The basic attitude was that by not allowing any broken windows – i.e. having zero tolerance, government can stop further vandalism and escalation into more serious crimes.


Perhaps, then, as a direct result of the newest terrorist attack on Israeli citizens, Israel should adopt and adapt the broken windows theory and begin a policy of shooting Arab rock throwers.  A  two year old toddler, Avigail Ben-Zion, lost consciousness and suffered a fractured skull as the result of Arab terrorists throwing a three-pound rock through the window of the car which her mother was driving in Jerusalem Thursday night, and this must spark an increased response from Israel. 

Arab terrorists regularly throw rocks and it isn’t covered in the mainstream media. - except for Arutz Sheva. There are many incidents of this sort, including in 2011 when Asher and Yonatan Palmer were killed when their car was attacked by Palestinian stone throwers and flipped over. 


Rocks kill people – and by enforcing the law fully, perhaps junior rock throwers won’t become bus bombers.

Rocks kill – so let the perpetrators understand Ithat sraeli bullets can as well. 


The media has regularly romanticized Palestinian Arab stone throwers and ignored their violence, justifying said stone throwers as victims of “Israeli occupation” rather than as terrorists.

But Rocks can kill.  The rocks which are thrown regularly injure people – and by using deadly force against these people harming Israeli citizens, at the very least the throwers will understand they are not the only ones who can harm someone.


American border patrol police “consider rock-throwing to be deadly force which sometimes demands the same in response.” In the last two years, eight people have been killed on America’s borders for throwing rocks. It is normal to respond with force when attacked with a deadly weapon.

Rocks can and do kill. Throwing rocks is plain and simple terrorism.


How long would any group get away with this anywhere in the world? Last year, Avigdor Lieberman, the Foreign Minister, urged the IDF to change the rules of engagement to instruct soldiers to open fire at "rock-throwing terrorists." As he said, "rock-throwing [should] be treated like shooting using firearms," adding "only this kind of change will stop civilians and soldiers from being targeted by Arab rioters and prevent disasters."


What’s the worst that can happen? America and the world might get so upset with Israel that they would go make a deal with Iran, Israel’s most dangerous enemy?


Ronn Torossian is a Public Relations executive who cares deeply about the State of Israel.