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The Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice committee on Monday passed a bill that will make attacks on the elderly punishable by a mandatory prison sentence.

The new bill calls for raising the maximum sentence for aggravated assault on a senior citizen from 3 years to 5 years, while the maximum for assault that causes serious bodily harm will remain 7 years.

Under the new bill, a judge who wants to prevent a defendant convicted of attacking a senior citizen from imprisonment will have to present the court with special, extenuating reasons that would preclude the suspect from prison.

The bill lists as senior citizens anyone who is over the age of 65.

While the bill would significantly raise the severity of punishment for attacks on the elderly, it still falls far short of the bill proposed by Yisrael Beitenu MK David Rotem which called for a mandatory 20-year-sentence for aggravated assaults on the elderly and a minimum 10-year-sentence for any other sort of assault on a senior citizen.

The past year has seen a series of high-profile attacks on elderly citizens of Israel, with many involving especially brutal acts of violence.