MK Amichai Chikli (Yamina) believes that Bedouin criminals receive lenient sentences because judges are biased and because they feel threatened by the Bedouin sector.
"The main reason for the mitigation of punishment is not related to the issue of threats," MK Chikli began, "but to a progressive paradigm that divides the world into the privileged and the underprivileged, and there is an automatic desire to go with the underprivileged."
But he said the fear judges have also plays a factor in the refusal to mete out the same harsh sentences members of other communities would receive for the same crimes. "We saw an example in the Be'er Sheva district where a judge released people who were involved in throwing stones and blocking roads. He released them for several reason, saying that the area had calmed down and there is no reason to detain them. But the same judge is a Bedouin whose vehicle was set on fire by criminal organizations. It can't be ignored that if he rules against any clan, it could go after him."
Chikli recounted conversations he had with municipal leaders in the south on his tours of the area and from these conversations it appears that there are indeed judges who fear for their lives after their homes were attacked by gunmen.
According to Chikli, the solution to this reality is to pass a minimum sentence for a series of offenses, as doing so will remove the incentive to target judges who legally cannot impose a lighter sentence even if they wanted to. "A judge will be able to make stricter, but not more lenient," he said, noting a bill that would proscribe for offenses of unlawful possession of a weapon a penalty of at least one year in prison. Today those accused of such offenses receive sentences of community service or probation.
"A man who threw stones, blocked roads, sabotaged power poles, knocked them down and blocked roads with them should not be released," he said.