Child crime on the rise

19th January 2001 at 00:00

RISING juvenile crime, violence in schools, depression, and widespread use of tranquillisers are just some of the grim facts to emerge from a new report about children in Israel.

The report by the National Council for the Child follows the release of separate figures showing that one in four Israeli youngsters lives below the poverty line.

Police opened files on 29,000 children in 1999, nearly 10 per cent more than in 1998, and 11,870 cases were filed in the juvenile courts - up more than 20 per cent.

Drug-related crimes figured more prominently than in years gone by, particularly among recent immigrants, of whom 250,000 have arrived over the past decade, mainly from the former Soviet Union. Just over 10 per cent of all children are immigrants, and they account for one-third of all juveniles involved in drug-related crime.

In 1999, police looked into more than 3,000 reports of violence by children in schools, compared with only 930 in 1995, opening criminal investigations on more than half.

More than one-qarter of pupils said they did not feel safe in school; nearly half of senior sixth-formers reported having seen pupils carrying knives in school grounds; and more than one in four junior high-schoolers said they had been involved in rows over ethnicity or religion. One in four children said teachers had insulted or humiliated them.

Dr Asher Ben-Arieh, co-editor of the report, said a materialistic culture, wide socio-economic gaps, ethnic divisions, and Israel's conflict with the Palestinians all contributed to rising violence in society. "An essential first step is to separate a child's right to services in education and health from his or her ability to pay," he said.

World Health Organisation figures included in the study suggest that Israeli youth feel too pressured at home and at school. They rank at the top, or nearly at the top, of nearly 30, mainly western, countries when it comes to depression, use of tranquillisers, tendency to diet, a feeling that teachers are too hard on them, and that parents expect too much.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today