(JNS.org) Israel’s security cabinet on Thursday approved tougher measures against firebomb and rock throwers, and eased security forces' open-fire regulations against attackers.
The 10-member cabinet decided unanimously to back the measures in the wake of continuous Palestinian violence against Israelis in the vicinity of Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, with terrorists utilizing rocks and petrol bombs.
Israel's decision is intended to “sharpen” the open-fire regulations by allowing police to shoot suspects not only when they believe their own lives are in danger, but also if they deem the perpetrators to be a danger to any member of the public, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The police will also now be allowed to use the low-powered Ruger sniper rifle, which has thus far only been used by the Israel Defense Forces in Judea and Samaria.
In addition, Netanyahu announced a minimum four-year prison sentence for anyone over the age of 18 who is caught throwing lethal objects. Minors and their parents will face lighter jail sentences and fines.
“We intend to change the norm that has taken root here where it is possible to throw lethal and murderous objects in Israel without an answer or impediment. This will change,” Netanyahu said.
Meanwhile, Israeli police have been conducting a major sweep of Jerusalem during the Jewish holiday season amid this year's overlap of Yom Kippur (marked Wednesday) and the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha ("Feast of Sacrifice," marked Thursday), arresting 137 Palestinians suspected of rock and firebomb throwing. Among the arrested individuals, 76 are adults and 61 are minors as young as 14, according to police. On Rosh Hashanah, 64-year-old Israeli Jewish man Alexander Levlovich was killed on his way home from a holiday dinner when Palestinian attackers pelted his car with rocks.