Israeli family wins monetary suit against Palestinian attackers

The criminal case ended with almost no punishment for the perpetrators, so the family sued them instead.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A family has won 60,000 shekels in a civil suit against Palestinians who attacked them in the Old City of Jerusalem six years ago after the judge in the criminal case let them off with almost no punishment, Israel National News reported Tuesday.

On their return from prayer services at the Western Wall in September 2017, three male family members got into their car to drive away when an argument ensued with two Arabs who claimed that the Jewish worshippers had parked in a way that blocked the entrance to their store. The argument escalated into fisticuffs, with several Arabs throwing punches, kicking, and even one throwing a cup of boiling-hot coffee at their victims.

The men were bruised in the fight, and a Border Police unit arrested the two main assailants after being summoned to the site. Despite video evidence from street cameras, the case against them was closed in January 2018.

Honenu, the legal aid organization that helps Jewish victims of Arab assaults, then fought a years-long, successful battle to get the case reopened, only to see the court approve a sweet plea deal in March: One assailant received a two-month suspended sentence; the other was let off with 100 hours of community service.

The police defended their decision to offer the lenient deal, saying that it “fit the evidentiary difficulties and the passage of time from the commission of the crime.”

Honenu was angered by both the procedure and the slap on the wrist. They pointed out that the plea agreement had been made with the assailants’ legal representatives without notifying them as the victims’ lawyer, as required by law.

In addition, “the phenomenon of violence against Jews in Jerusalem is increasing all the time but the accused get off … without paying a price,” said Adv. Haim Bleicher, director of the Terror Victims Department. The decision was made to bring a civil suit “as the least we can do …. to deter others from repeating such actions.”

The Arab defendants never responded to the lawsuit, and when the time limit for a response passed, the court has ordered that they pay the full sum demanded in compensation – 60,000 shekels.

A satisfied Bleicher commented, “Civil lawsuits are the necessary supplement in the war on terror … especially where the criminal law is not adequately prosecuted.”

This tool, he continued, “gives back to the victims what they deserve for being harmed, but more than that, it deters those rioters who are forced to pay out of their own pockets to those whom they had tried to hurt. We will continue to make an effort to see that every rioter or terrorist who hurts Jews pays a heavy price.”

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