Arab Schoolchildren Nabbed after Stoning Bus

Children aged 10-11 hurled rocks at an Egged bus as afterschool recreation. Their young age means they'll likely go free.

Ornit Atzar, Gil Ronen ,

הילדים שנתפסו
הילדים שנתפסו
צילום: חטיבת דובר המשטרה

Border Police caught four Arab school children aged 10-11 Monday after they hurled rocks at an Egged bus on Sultan Sliman street in Jerusalem.

No one was hurt and no damage was caused by the rocks.

The Border Police force that was directed toward the children caught them and brought them to the Shalem police station at Salah a-Din street. They turned out to be children from the neighborhood of A-Tur who attacked the bus after finishing the school day.

Since the children are under 12 and as such have no criminal responsibility, it is unlikely that any criminal proceedings will be launched against them.

Chief Superintendent Sharon Hen, whose men arrested the children, said afterward that it is “regrettable to see children aged 10 risking their lives and the lives of innocent civilians.”

"We will continue the overt and covert activity, along with myriad technological means, for the safety of the residents of the capital, Jerusalem,” he stated.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz proposed an amendment to the Youth Law on Friday that will, among other things, allow for the families of rock-throwing teenagers to be fined under the law. 

Now, outside of the possibility to criminally convict teens who throw rocks, a second option exists: to find defendants guilty of the crime and send them to rehabilitation without adding the offense to their criminal records. The goal is to allow them to reintegrate into society without the stigma of being a juvenile offender. 

As part of the program, parents of offenders may be fined by the court - and pay compensation to victims - instead of seeing their children sent to juvenile hall. 

Even when offenders are convicted as terrorists for rock-throwing under law, parents are currently involved in the litigation process. Often, parents encourage their children to throw rocks at Jewish motorists for ideological reasons, and any involvement becomes subject to scrutiny by the court. 

Therefore, the bill would allow, among other things, the imposition of fines on parents whose children were convicted of throwing rocks. Thus, the bill aims to strengthen Israel's deterrence and place responsibility for minors on both society and the parents themselves. 

To provide appropriate due process, the bill would allow, however, for parents to defend themselves before being subject to penalties. For example, a parent could argue that the minor committed the offense not due to negligence, but for reasons beyond parental control. 

"We saw once again on [Rosh Hashanah] Eve that rocks can kill," Shaked statedFriday. "We are very determined in our efforts in the war against disturbances and rock-throwing - any attempt to carry out such operations will continue to garner a very severe response." 

"Every year, hundreds of indictments are filed over rioting and rock-throwing among youths, as recent years have seen a significant increase in these offenses," she continued. "Today nearly 50% of the indictments filed with the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office are against youth." 

Although this particular case did not result in injuries, many Israeli motoriss have been killed or severely injured in rock attacks - often perpetrated by young children or teens. Most recently, a 64-year-old grandfather was killed after losing control when rock-throwing Arabs pelted his car.