Sha’ar Yafo car-ramming terrorists convicted

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Monday, May 30, 2022, 14:38 On Monday, May 30, the Jerusalem District Court convicted the two terrorists who carried out a car-ramming attack near Sha’ar Yafo (Jaffa Gate) in Jerusalem in March 2019. The police initially considered the incident to be a hit-and-run accident and recognized the car-ramming as an attack only eight months after the incident, following a GSS investigation. Both terrorists were convicted of attempted murder in an act of terror. However one of the judges, in a minority opinion, exonerated them due to doubt.

Avraham Arend, one of the two Hareidi youths injured in the attack, welcomed the conviction: “My friend and I experienced a car-ramming attack three years ago, near Sha’ar Yafo. Arabs ran us over and tried to stab us. They wanted to kill us too. Thank G-d we were saved by a big miracle. Initially, the police denied that it was an attack. With the help of the GSS they figured out that it was an attempted murder. We have barely made it through the past three years, ourselves and our families. Thank G-d we were saved by a miracle, and now the terrorists will receive their punishment.”

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing Arend, responded to the conviction: “The terrorists ran over and attempted to stab Avraham Arend and Eliyahu Fuchs in an attack three years ago near Sha’ar Yafo. After the terrorists fled the scene, they turned themselves in – it’s not clear why – and claimed that it had been an accident. They were released by the police. The victim [Arend] turned to us and said, ‘It was definitely an attack. They attacked me after the car-ramming.’ We fought with the police for a month and a half, we brought witnesses who hadn’t been interrogated in order to prove to the police that it was an attack, and unfortunately, the police refused to listen to us.

“The GSS revealed that it was an attack only eight months after the incident. Now, three years after the attack, the terrorists have been convicted of attempted murder as an act of terror. In real-time we turned also to Gilad Erdan, then Public Security Minister, and warned about terrorists wandering freely and liable to carry out another attack. Unfortunately, they posed a danger to the public for many months. We hope that the correct conclusion will be drawn and that every partner to terror will stand trial and be properly judged,” concluded Bleicher.

Regarding the minority opinion exonerating the terrorists, Bleicher said, “Unfortunately, there was a minority opinion among the panel of judges that continues the failure: Despite all of the unequivocal evidence and the confessions of the terrorists, there is someone who wants to release them.

The attack occurred on March 26, 2019. Two yeshiva students stood on the sidewalk, near Sha’ar Yafo, waiting for the red light to change, when suddenly a car driven by an Arab driver jumped the curb onto the sidewalk and hit them. One of the injured students testified that the driver backed up and tried to run them over again. When he did not succeed, the two terrorists exited the car, and when the injured victims were on the ground, hit and kicked them. Then the terrorists got into their car and fled. A knife was found at the scene, and later it turned out that the terrorists had tried to stab one of the victims, but failed.

The police released the suspects several hours after the attack, favoring their testimony over that of the victims and other eyewitnesses. District officials defended the decision by the police to release the suspects and ignored repeated requests from Honenu for a thorough investigation into the attack. The police also erroneously announced that the incident had been a traffic accident, and the police spokesman criticized Honenu, claiming that the organization had not accurately assessed the incident.

Approximately six months after the incident, the GSS received information that led to a renewed investigation of the attack, and Honenu’s claims were confirmed. Several months later, the GSS announced that they had determined what had happened, and the suspects were detained again. The terrorists were indicted in January 2020 and convicted of attempted murder in an act of terror today (Monday).

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