Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked wants to change the country’s criminal law to allow minors who are younger than 14 to be imprisoned if they take part in a terror attack.
The push from Shaked comes as prosecutors are expected to charge a 13-year-old Palestinian boy with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing two Jewish Israelis. Current law dictates that minors can only be charged at age 12 and can only be sent to prison at age 14.
Ahmed Manasra and his 15-year-old cousin allegedly stabbed a man in a neighborhood in northeastern Jerusalem, before stabbing a second victim, a 13-year-old Jewish boy.
If Mansara is found guilty before turning 14 years old, the judge will not be able to sentence him to prison, according to Israeli law. The judge can intern him in a youth facility, but only until age 20.
Shaked would like to amend the law quickly to ensure Manasra receives jail time if convicted.
Short of that, the prosecution could try to extend the trial against him until January when he turns 14, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Shaked’s spokesman was unsure that the amendment would happen fast enough to apply to Manasra, but hoped that changing the law would solve the issue for future cases, according to the Post.
A Justice Ministry spokeswoman said a request had been received from Shaked to move forward on the issue and they are in the early stages of exploring the legal implications of such a change.
After the attack, Manasra’s cousin was killed by police, while Manasra was hit by a car and injured as he fled.
The stabbings were a part of the latest wave of clashes in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which has killed dozens and injured more in the past month.
Shaked has earned a controversial reputation for inflammatory statements about Palestinians. Last summer, she posted to Facebook a quote from a late Israeli activist. It described the entire Palestinian people as “the enemy,” called youths who become “martyrs” while attacking Israelis “snakes” and said their mothers should “go to hell” with them.
Some criticized the post as a call for genocide of the Palestinian people.
It was not her first controversial comment about Palestinians. When asked during a 2012 Israeli television interview if she hoped her husband – an Israeli air force pilot – “would be pounding the Arabs hard with bombs” when he flew, she laughed and then replied “Yes.”