gun - Natasha Mozgovaya - August 24, 2010
A rabbi points handgun. The rabbi pictured has no connection to the incident. Photo by Natasha Mozgovaya
Text size

A meeting in northern Israel between a rabbi, two of his male relatives, and a fourth man early Sunday morning ended in a gun battle, wounding two of the men. The men involved in the gunfight, who are all licensed to carry weapons, were arrested and remanded in custody later Sunday.

An initial investigation revealed that a resident of northern Israel in his 60s, his son and son-in-law invited another man in his 30s to a meeting at the entrance to their village under false pretenses.

Apparently, the three organized the meeting due to a romantic relationship between the fourth man and the rabbi's daughter.

Over the course of the meeting, a fight broke out and the fourth man shot at the rabbi's son, wounding him seriously in the stomach. The rabbi's son-in-law then shot back at the fourth man, wounding him lightly to moderately.

Safed court judge Saab Dabur remanded both the rabbi and the man he organized a meeting with by five days.

During court deliberations, the judge noted that "there is evidence that cannot be elaborated on at present." The rabbi is suspected of conspiracy and attempted murder. "The investigation is in its infancy, but on the face of it, we are talking about serious charges," the judge said.

The rabbi's son-in-law is suspected of assault, illegal confinement and conspiracy. The judge stated that the man is suspected of planning the crimes attributed to him.

"The contention that he supposedly got caught up in a situation in which he had no choice but to act in a certain way – there is no evidence for that," the judge said at the hearing. "Anyone that knowingly puts himself in this kind of situation – he has no one to blame but himself."

The rabbi's lawyer said that the story is much more complicated than it would appear. He added that, "The rabbi has no explanation for what happened. He never planned for it to happen in the way that it did. Things played out and what happened happened."

The son-in-law's lawyer, Chaim Eizenkot, said that the men wanted to keep the fourth man away from the rabbi's daughter. "There was no intention to hurt him. He was the one that created the situation that put them on the defensive," Eizenkot said.

"When you pull out a weapon, the situation will escalate and turn out the way it did. He is the one that pulled out a weapon and shot first."