Youth killings stir new debate over violence in Israeli culture

JERUSALEM, June 13 (JTA) — Outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Premier-elect Ehud Barak visited the home of a Jerusalem family Sunday whose 15-year-old son was murdered last Thursday by another teen-ager. The visits came as increasing public attention in Israel was devoted to the growing wave of juvenile violence. The murder of Gilad Raviv in Jerusalem on June 10 took place only a few days after the murder of Yevgeny Ya’acobovitz, also 15, in Nazareth. Raviv was stabbed to death by another youth, who later said he had reacted to insults against him. Five youths were detained in the murder of Ya’acobovitz. A recent survey carried out by Israeli educational television showed that 92 percent of children encounter some form of violence at school In reaction to the survey’s results, educational television will air special programs encouraging tolerance. Even as politicians and experts argued about the cause of this wave of youth violence, another related incident occurred Saturday, when a 56-year-old man suspected of having wounded a 29-year-old man following a quarrel between their 7-year-old children was detained in Ashdod. The discussion of the incidents and the solutions proposed to the problem are similar to the national dialogue that occurred in the United States following the April massacre in a Colorado high school. Assa Kasher, one of Israel’s leading philosophers, said Sunday that the violence among youths reflected the general level of violence in the society. “Youths regard part of the behavior of grown-ups as a license to kill,” he said. Public Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani suggested that knives in schools should be confiscated. A leader of the fervently Orthodox Shas Party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, blamed the problem on secular youths not studying the Torah.

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