First conviction in ambushed bar mitzva hike case

Sunday, April 15, 2018, 13:50 The Arab who stole a cellular phone belonging to one of the boys on the November 2017 bar mitzva hike near Migdalim has been convicted of taking possession of the phone and inserting his own SIM card.
The cellular phone was stolen, along with backpacks and other items belonging to the boys on the hike and their chaperones, by Arab residents of the village of Kutzra who ambushed and assaulted the hikers near the Jewish community of Migdalim on November 30, 2017. The defendant admitted to the act in a plea bargain and was convicted of participating in the theft.
“No-one disputes that the incident during which the cellular phone was stolen and held by the defendant was a very grave and serious incident,” ruled the military judge in the verdict. “However in light of the reasons detailed by both sides, particularly the fact that there is no evidence of the defendant’s presence at the incident, my decision is to honor the plea bargain.”
The judge sentenced the defendant to 16 days imprisonment and ruled on a 12-month suspended sentence and an additional six-month suspended sentence. The judge also imposed a 5,000 NIS fine and awarded 3,000 NIS compensation to the victim of the theft.
Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who represented the boy stated that, “The verdict is the tip of the iceberg concerning the violent ambush of the group of boys. We expect every [assailant] involved with the incident to be penalized in proportion to his part, according to the evidence gathered. However that is insufficient. A large mob of dangerous rioters came out of the village of Kutzra under the village’s leadership. The State of Israel should find a way to visit retribution on the village, most of the residents of which participated in the ambush and assault, and its leadership.”
The weapon belonging to the one of the fathers who accompanied the boys on the hike as an armed chaperone and opened fire at the rioters in defense of the hikers, was returned to him after the case against him was closed due to lack of guilt.
Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar, who represented the father, stated that, “We would like to thank again the law enforcement authorities and the Attorney General’s office for the rapid and just handling of the case. Nevertheless, one must not forget our profound criticism both of the investigation of the Jewish hikers and of the problems with and flaws of the investigation of the Arab rioters, which led to great difficulties in filing indictments. I hope that whoever needs to learn a lesson from this matter will do so as soon as possible.”

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