Prominent rabbis, public officials and a Knesset member, on Saturday, held a send off for a criminal about to enter prison after being convicted of abusing a Palestinian youth.
The event was held in the West Bank settlement of Shilo in honor of Zvi Struck, who was convicted of abusing a Palestinian youth in July 2007, together with another man whose identity remains unknown. The two beat the youth up, bound him, fired their guns close to him, undressed him and threw him naked at the roadside. Three months earlier the two men had beaten up the same youth and killed a young goat.
The Jerusalem District Court sentenced Struck to 18 months in prison, which the Supreme Court extended to 30 months after rejecting his appeal.
The send off was led by Bnei Akiva yeshiva head Rabbi Haim Drukman and Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior, Binyamin Council head Avi Ro'eh, his deputy Motti Yogev, and MK Arye Eldad.
Speakers at the gathering blasted the court for convicting Struck and said he had been framed with the help of leftist groups.
Struck's neighbors issued a flyer stating that Arabs had attacked him several times "due to jealousy of his thriving farm and his security work." When the attacks failed to stop Struck "they libeled him...with the help of leftist organizations who represented the complainant in court," the flyer said.
"Zvi represents a community that's all about expanding the settlements...there's resistance from the wicked outside and from people among us. They framed him," said Rabbi Dov Lior.
"We have no faith in the court...we need a strong government to change the system and policy...the court here runs the state...they're driven by racist hatred of Jews," he said.
Struck, 30, was born in Hebron to rightist activist Orit Struck. He lives in the disputed Esh Kodesh outpost outside Shilo.