Judge Blasts New Minimum Sentencing Policy: 'Do Only Arabs Throw Stones?'

Dalia Dorner, who headed a committee to examine sentencing, accuses Knesset of letting politics influence legislation.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner.
Rami Shllush

Retired Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner on Saturday voiced criticism of the government’s criminal sentencing policies.

Dorner, who headed a state-appointed committee to examine the matter, said “the Knesset responds to what is happening in a political way, when this speaks to its voters.”

Dorner made the remarks in reference to a recently passed law mandating minimum sentences for stone throwers and revoking stipends from parents whose children were convicted of such a crime. 

Dorner's committee recently completed a report on dealing with criminal offenders that was four years in the making. The report primarily recommends easing penalties, reducing lengthy prison terms and examining community service as an alternative. The committee found that severe punishment does not deter criminals and in fact raises the likelihood that a convict will resume criminal activity after being released. 

Speaking at a conference on sentencing policies held by the Law Faculty at the University of Haifa and the northern district Public Defender’s Office, Dorner pointed out gaps between her committee's recommendations and sentencing of offenders in the recent wave of terror.

The lawmakers “should have used discretion. Do only Arabs throw stones?" Dorner said, recalling past incidents in which Haredim rioted in Jerusalem during protests against opening roads to car traffic on Shabbat.