The government’s new “Zero Tolerance for Violence” policy includes a crackdown on alcohol sales, stiffer punishments, increased police presence, anti-violence educational programs, new school policies, and closed-circuit camera networks, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu revealed Sunday morning in radio interviews with Voice of Israel government radio and IDF Army Radio.
“I think that the current situation is unacceptable,” said Netanyahu. “We have a situation where a person could leave his house for a day trip to the sea and be a victim of a shocking, violent murder; or that the elderly are nearly beaten to death in their homes; or that children suffer violence at schools; or that teenagers stab each other for entertainment. I, as prime minister, do not accept this situation.”
I, as prime minister, do not accept this situation.
The prime minister shared details of his anti-violence plan, which includes stronger penalties for offenders. The Minister of Finance has been instructed to submit new legislation that insures that “murderers and thugs will pay a heavy price for their crimes,” he said. Police presence on the streets will also be increased, including the addition of 10 units recently dispatched to major city centers.
Netanyahu called for better resource management by the police department and an increased focus on visibility. He praised the force for its efforts in several recent investigations and said that the department could be more effective without the need for a budgetary increase.
The increase in school violence will be handled via a new curriculum, implemented by Education Minister Gideon Saar, designed to increase discipline and reduce violence. The prime minister mentioned recently changed laws which enable school administrators to immediately isolate students involved in extreme violence.
The new program includes a strong focus on alcohol, including a ban on sales after 9:00 pm and forbidding sales at gas stations and convenience stores. It remains unclear if the bans will be enforced across the board or target only those under a certain age. Stricter laws for drunk drivers and blood-alcohol levels will also be included in the policy. “Alcohol is a national calamity,” said Netanyahu.
The government’s “Violence-Free Cities” policy is also moving forward, providing closed-circuit camera networks in 50 cities. He cited British success with a similar program as being the model for Israel’s efforts in the matter.