Jerusalem Court Hands Jail Terms to Three Jewish Minors Over Arab Lynchings

The minors were given between one and eight months in prison for their roles in a series of attacks on Arabs in Jerusalem, including one that left an Arab teenager in critical condition.

Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger
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Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger

The Jerusalem District Court on Monday sentenced three Jewish minors to between one to eight months in prison after finding them guilty in a series of racially motivated attacks against Arabs last summer in the center of the city.

"When criminal activity is mass, inflammatory and seems to get carried away, it becomes dangerous and violent to the individual and society," Jerusalem District Court Judge Jacob Zaban, sitting as a Juvenile Court judge, said in his verdict.

The three minors, along with four men, were charged in assaults of several Arabs on the evening of August 16, 2012. All seven defendants signed plea bargains with prosecutors in which they confessed to some of the charges against them.

The defendants attacked and forced Arabs out of Cats' Square near Independence Park in the center of Jerusalem and then began looking for more Arabs to beat. They spotted a group of four Arabs and attacked them without provocation in what the judge called "a racially motivated lynching."

Jamal Julani, then 17, a resident of East Jerusalem, was beaten the most severely. Defendant No. 1, who was 16 years old at the time, kicked Julani in the abdomen after he had fallen to the ground, said Zaban.

Julani lost consciousness and then stopped breathing and lost his pulse. He was resuscitated in the ambulance and taken to the hospital in critical condition. He suffered scarring and swelling of the lungs and was hospitalized for a week. During the trial, it emerged that Julani has not fully recovered and is still under neurological and psychological care.

Zaban described how the group chased Julani and his friends out of Cats' Square to Zion Square, a few hundred yards away. “That’s where the hooligans decided that Julani was not a person but an object to be done with as they saw fit,” he said.

In his verdict, Zaban distinguished between the defendants leading the attacks, the "inner circle," and those who joined and encouraged them, "the outer circle." He referred to surveys by the Probation Service and took into account the defendants’ family backgrounds and rehabilitation efforts in determining the defendants' respective sentences.

He sentenced Defendant No. 1 to eight months’ in prison, writing, "Together with dozens of youths, he sought out young Arabs in order to beat them. En route they yelled racist slogans, and when around 50 youths had gathered, they saw the Arabs, surrounded them, and when they started to beat Julani he had no chance. Defendant No. 1 pursued, caught and kicked Julani, and even after he bent over and fell, continued to kick him in the stomach a number of times, as did others.”

Defendant No. 1 was convicted of aggravated assault and aiding an assault under aggravated circumstances with racist motivations. Defendant No. 2 was convicted of incitement to violence and violating the prohibition of incitement to racism. He was also part of the group of Jews that sought out Arabs to attack them and was sentenced to three months in prison. Defendant No. 3, a member of the so-called outer circle, was convicted of aiding an aggravated assault with racist motives. He got 30 days in prison and a 60-day suspended sentence.

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