A resident of the Lower Galilee city of Yokne’am was indicted on Wednesday for committing hate crimes against local Arabs.
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Adir Yosef, 28, is accused of intentionally damaging property with racist motivations, as well as possessing a knife. The court asked to extend Yosef’s remand until the end of legal proceedings.
The indictment filed by attorney Orit Korin of the Northern District State Prosecutor’s Office, says that in March, April and May, 14 separate crimes were committed involving damage to property owned by Arabs. Damage primarily included punctured tires and graffiti spray-painted on cars. A joint Israel Police and Shin Bet task force was appointed to investigate the crimes.
The indictment says that on the eve of Israeli Independence Day, Yosef drove his car through Upper Yokne’am and shouted, “Death to arabs.” The next day, Yosef sent a WhatsApp message from his cellphone that read, “Kahane was right, the people of Israel stand with Price Tag!!!” Later that day, Yosef, armed with a knife, parked near a car he identified as belonging to an Arab, got out of his car and slashed the other car’s tires. He was immediately apprehended by police on the scene.
The prosecution, claiming that Yosef is dangerous, asked to extend his remand. The request was upheld. Yosef’s defense attorney, Dov Hirsch, stated that his client admits to committing the acts but denies they were racially or ideologically motivated. Hirsch’s request that Yosef be placed under house arrest at his parents’ home was denied.
“The decision to keep my client in a detention facility until June 22 is a severe, exceptional decision, not proportional to the relatively light indictments filed against him,” said Hirsch, who added he will file an appeal with the Supreme Court to release Yosef to house arrest.
Last week, police arrested four other men on suspicion of being involved in recent hate crimes in the Yokne’am area. Police suspect they acted in coordination to damage a health clinic, smash car windshields and spray racist graffiti.