Arabs who attacked Jew ordered to pay millions of shekels in compensation

Avraham Ehrlich was so severely beaten in 2015 that he cannot work and suffers from PTSD.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered a group of Arabs who had severely beaten a Jew in the Old City of Jerusalem in 2015 to pay him a whopping 2.75 million shekels (over $800,000) in compensation for his injuries, Hebrew media reported.

Avraham Ehrlich was in the Old City as part of a tour guide course, but he separated from the group because his electric bike couldn’t make it up the stairs. He ate a falafel dish at an Arab restaurant while talking to the staff in English. Assuming he was a tourist, one employee charged him an exaggerated sum of 200 shekels.

Ehrlich then took out his cell phone and recorded himself asking in Hebrew how much his meal cost. This time the answer was 50 shekels.

But Arabs who worked in the eatery then started shoving him around and warning him to stop rolling his camera. One finally grabbed his phone and smashed the screen.

Ehrlich fled, but then returned to get his bicycle, and when he re-entered the restaurant, one of the original attackers jumped him and started beating him with a stick.

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The assailant was joined by other staff, some of whom used baseball bats on their victim, hitting him on the head and all over his body. They then dragged him into a nearby alley to continue the beating outside.

Ehrlich finally managed to escape, although when he begged for help from Arab passersby, some of them also tried to hit him. He called the police, who helped him get his bike back, and he identified his attackers.

The criminal trial that followed ended in plea agreements, and the assailants received only suspended sentences.

This was not acceptable to Ehrlich, who had physical injuries to his head, leg and hand from the ordeal and such severe symptoms of mental trauma and PTSD that he couldn’t return to work.

He sued the men in civil court with the help of Attorney Haim Bleicher from the Honenu organization, which offers legal aid to Jews who have difficulty receiving fair treatment in cases involving Arab violence.

Commenting on the victory, Bleicher said, “Unfortunately, attacks on Jews by Islamic rioters is done as a matter of course and as if their victims’ blood was cheap. We will continue to act even more vigorously in order to exact a heavy price from those rioters and to stop the repeated acts of violence against Jews.”

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In recent months, Honenu has managed to extract tens of thousands of shekels in civil damages from Arabs who have attacked Jews but received only light or suspended sentences in criminal court. In September, two Arabs who had knocked a haredi youth to the ground and kicked and punched him repeatedly, also in the Old City, were ordered to pay him 60,000 shekels.

In another case decided the day before, the same Magistrate’s Court  fined the Arab assailant of a Jewish driver 90,000 shekels.

The goal, says Honenu, is deterrence.

“When a terrorist is sent to prison, he receives status and respect in his society,” Honenu lawyer Ofir Steiner explained in an interview with Makor Rishon after the two cases were won. “After he runs out his sentence, he’s received at home and on the street as if he were a king.”

“When this happens again and again, we understand that the penalties imposed by criminal law do not create a real deterrent. There is no system that prevents the man from repeating the act again. So we say: if being in prison or having a criminal record is not a deterrent to the terrorist, we will go into his pocket and sue him financially.”

“I have often seen how even a convicted terrorist who served a prison sentence is not worried about everything that happened, but is very worried about the civil lawsuit,” he added.