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Haaretz Corrects: Bill Doesn't Call For Jailing 12-Year-Olds


Following communication from CAMERA's Israel office, Haaretz's English edition has corrected an editorial which falsely stated that an Israeli bill calls for jailing children as young as 12. Editors have yet to correct, though, a news headline and an Op-Ed by Gideon Levy which make the same false assertion.
 
Thursday's editorial ("Eroding our democracy," Nov. 12), had incorrectly stated:
After two children stabbed a security guard in Jerusalem, a new response emerged that conforms to the philosophy of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked: reducing the age of criminal accountability and jailing children from age 12 – just as in Eritrea and Morocco.
But, as has been reported in Haaretz's news pages, Shaked's proposal does not call for imprisoning children as young as 12. Nir Hasson reported Nov. 11:
Israel's Justice Ministry has almost finished drafting a bill that would allow children under 14 to be sentenced to jail.
 
Under the bill, which is the brainchild of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, jail sentences could be handed down to children as young as 12, though the offender would start serving the sentence only when he turned 14. Prison sentences could be imposed on children younger than 14 only if they are convicted of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter, the draft bill states.
In response to CAMERA's correspondence, editors commendably added a few words to the editorial to make clear that the jail sentence would not begin at 14, not 12. The amended text reads:
After two children stabbed a security guard in Jerusalem, a new response emerged that conforms to the philosophy of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked: reducing the age of criminal accountability and jailing children from age 12 (even if the actual imprisonment is deferred for two years) - just as in Eritrea and Morocco. . . .
In addition, editors commendably appended a note at the bottom of the online article noting the change.
 
The correction has not yet appeared in the print edition.
 
Unfortunately, the editorial was not the only place where the error appeared in Haaretz. The headline accompanying last week's article in which Nir Hasson carefully explained that jail sentences handed down to 12-year-olds would not be imposed until the perpetrators reached the age of 14, was grossly inaccurate: "State seeks to jail offenders as young as 12."
 
 
As of this writing, editors have not yet corrected the prominent, page one, above-the-fold headline, although it has been pointed out to them.
 
The online headline for this article also carries the false headline: "Israel Seeks to Jail Offenders as Young as 12."
 
 
The inaccurate headline is contradicted by the subheadline which rightly notes: "Justice Minister bill states offenders would start serving sentence at 14 if they are convicted of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter."
 
Finally, Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy repeated the false claim that the measure would jail children as young as 12, and also casts the bill as a law that has already been implemented ("This is what the moral decline of society looks like," Nov. 12). He refers to the "day Israel became more like Eritrea and Uganda by legislating a monstrous law allowing incarceration of children as young as 12." In addition, the Op-Eds subheadline also echoes the false claim that the bill would allow for putting 12-year-olds in jail:
 
 
CAMERA continues to call on Haaretz editors to correct the false assertion – wherever it appears, both in print or online, in headlines or in Op-Eds – that the bill (not law) allows for the imprisonment of children as young as 12 .
 
For additional Haaretz corrections prompted by CAMERA and its Hebrew site, Presspectiva, please see here.
 
 
 

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