Driver in Jerusalem Car Crash Dies From Injuries; Police Suspect Stone-throwing Caused Crash

Two passengers suffered light wounds; Relatives of the driver said that they were returning home from a family dinner celebrating Rosh Hashanah.

Arik Abuluf / Jerusalem Fire and Rescue

An Israeli man died Monday morning after sustaining critical wounds in a car crash in Jerusalem late Sunday night, which police suspect may have been caused by stone throwing.

Police suspect 64-year-old Alexander Levlovitch lost control of the vehicle near the Palestinian neighborhood of Sur Baher in East Jerusalem when his car was hit by stones. The car then hit a power pole and landed in a ditch. Two passengers were lightly wounded in the crash.

The three were taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment, where the driver succumbed to his wounds.

Relatives of Leibowitz said that they were returning home from a family dinner celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Jerusalem police have opened an investigation into the incident. A police force arrived on the scene and was sweeping the area in search for clues that could lead to possible suspects. The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court issued a gag order on the details of the incident.

Arik Abuluf / Jerusalem Fire and Rescue

Following the incident, Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency meeting to discuss "the war on stone throwing and fire bombs in Jerusalem and its vicinity."

Last week, State Attorney Shai Nitzan released new instructions for law enforcement against stone throwers, first of which was the instruction to file for an arrest until the end of legal proceedings for nearly every suspect charged with stone throwing.

With the new instructions, the state attorney officially adopted the Jerusalem District's policy, implemented for last year.

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Last month, Jerusalem Police blocked one of the three entryways to the village of Issawiya in Jerusalem due to stone throwing. The police said the road was blocked to ensure the safety of drivers on the Jerusalem-Maaleh Adumim road, but residents accused police of collective punishment.

Also last month, the Jerusalem municipality and the Education Ministry announced that they will fund an extended school day for boys in all the secondary schools in East Jerusalem. Formulated in cooperation with the police, the plan for an extended school day was intended in part to solve the problem of rock-throwing by Arab youths after school lets out.

Last July, the Knesset passed into law an amendment to the Penal Code that will enable those who throw stones at cars to be convicted and sentenced for up to 20 years without the state having to prove that they were trying to damage cars or harm their occupants. The new law also makes it easier to punish those who throw stones at police patrol cars.