Two Arabs who beat rabbi in Jaffa riots handed community service sentences

Rabbi Eliyahu Mali and his colleague were mobbed and beaten in Jaffa in April. 

By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News

Two Arabs convicted of beating a rabbi and a yeshiva director in an anti-Semitic attack will not spend any time in jail, but instead have been handed community service sentences of less than one year.

The unnamed men, both in their 30s, set upon Rabbi Eliyahu Mali who runs the Shirat Moshe Hesder Yeshiva in Jaffa, and yeshiva director Moshe Schendowich, as the pair were visiting a property the yeshiva planned on purchasing. A group of Arabs surrounded the two Jewish men, initially harassing them, and ordering them to leave. When they pulled out their phones to film the incident, several of the Arab assailants set upon them violently, punching and kicking the two.

Schendowich was hospitalized following the attack. Mali, who is in his 60s, was kicked to the ground but did not sustain injuries that required hospitalization.

“The State of Israel is not a shtetl in which Jews can be harmed,” Israel’s current Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted at the time, then in his former role as leader of opposition party Yamina.

“The severe and overt violence against Rabbi Eliyahu Mali, the head of the hesder yeshiva in Jaffa, is a… national disgrace.” He added: “We are witnessing a series of attacks by Arab assailants against Torah-observant Jews, which are deliberate and anti-Semitic.”

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Jerusalem Affairs Minister Rafi Peretz described the incident at the time as “chilling.”

However, despite calls for justice from the highest levels, on Monday, Tel Aviv’s Magistrates Court witnessed the prosecution do a deal with the attackers whereby they will receive community service sentences in return for a guilty plea. Under the deal, one of the defendants will serve nine months of community service, while the other will serve five months.

The case comes a day after Bennett vowed to crack down on crime in Israel’s Arab sector. On Sunday, Bennett chaired a meeting of the inter-ministerial working team on fighting crime and violence in the Arab sector, headed by the Deputy Public Security Minister, former Israel Police major general Yoav Segalovitz.

“A state within a state has developed here over the years,” Bennett said in a statement following the meeting, adding: “I think that we are all now aware of this. Dealing with this magnitude will not take a day or two but we are on it. We are taking action and will continue to do so.”

He added: “I expect the Arab public to cooperate fully in the war against crime and violence in the Arab sector.”