No criminal trial, so assault victim sues in civil court


Please click here for a list of posts relating to cases in which Honenu provided legal counsel to victims of antisemitic attacks in Jerusalem.

Honenu Attorney Ophir Steiner; Photo credit: Reut Steiner

Thursday, April 18, 2024, 10:02 Honenu Attorney Ophir Steiner filed a NIS 75,000 civil suit against an Arab on behalf of a Jew who was assaulted in the Old City of Jerusalem in April 2021. The victim filed a complaint with the police immediately after the assault. However, the police closed the case without an indictment despite the Arab’s confession that his motive was racist and nationalist. Attorney Steiner, who is representing the complainant, appealed the case closing. Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office decided not to try the Arab in a criminal trial, despite his confession of his acts and his motivation, and settled for a warning letter.

Attorney Steiner described the assault in the statement of claim: “On April 20, 2021, the complainant was walking on HaGai Street, towards the Western Wall. He wore clothing typical of Hareidi Jews. He was preoccupied by his own concerns and speaking on his cell phone. Then, from the opposite direction, a group of six Arab youths approached the complainant. One of them, the defendant, separated from the rest of the group and assaulted the complainant with a forceful shoulder slam. There was no provocation on the part of the complainant. The motive was racist, stemming from the defendant’s hatred of Jews. He stated so himself directly in a police interrogation.”

After he filed the suit, Honenu Attorney Ophir Steiner stated, “This was an ugly, violent assault motivated by racism. The State Attorney’s Office accepted the testimony of the victim, which is corroborated by the assailant’s confession and video evidence. However, alongside that, the State Attorneys Office reasoned that a forceful shoulder slam does not justify a criminal trial. Because the law enforcement authorities chose not to enforce the law in this case, the victim has no recourse other than to sue the assailant in civil proceedings. Our goal is to do justice and improve deterrence.”

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