Supportive Crowd Greets Israeli Man Freed From House Arrest After Killing Palestinian Thief

Some 1,000 people welcomed the 64-year-old truck owner as he was released from house arrest. Police continue to investigate whether the killing constituted self-defense.

Demonstrators calling to end robberies of both houses and farms in the area.
Ilan Assayag

A man suspected of killing a Palestinian who tried to steal his truck was released from house arrest on Tuesday and greeted with a solidarity demonstration that attracted some 1,000 people.

The demonstration’s organizers said they were trying to raise awareness of the spate of break-ins and thefts plaguing the area, as well as “the residents’ right to personal security.”

Police continue to investigate whether or not the killing constituted justified self-defense, and are also looking for the thief’s two accomplices. Meanwhile, the 64-year-old truck owner has been released without restrictions, barring leaving the country. His name remains under a gag order.

The truck owner, a resident of Beit Elazari, was questioned by the police again on Tuesday morning and also asked to identify items found in the truck.

The thieves had managed to steal a lot of equipment from the man’s yard, and most likely from other people’s yards as well, and load it in the truck, which they also intended to steal.

The owner, who heard a noise and came out to investigate, interrupted them before they could drive the truck away. He stated that he opened fire only after one of the thieves threatened him with an iron bar.

The demonstration was organized by residents of the Brenner Regional Council and the HaShomer HaChadash organization. They said they did so to draw public attention to the frequent robberies of both houses and farms in the area.

The truck owner’s family, in a prepared text that was read at the demonstration, urged the government to formulate a national plan to prevent such crimes.

“We’re shaken and shocked by what happened,” the text said. “If he hadn’t shot, we would now be sitting shivah.”

“We urge Knesset members to do everything possible so that we can sleep at night,” the document continued. “We shouldn’t be the ones dealing with thieves and burglars in the dead of night.”

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 90 break-ins in the Brenner Regional Council. In 90 percent of the cases, the thieves were never caught. According to the council, thieves broke into private homes in 69 percent of the incidents. Thirty percent involved vehicle break-ins, and in about two-thirds of those cases, the vehicle itself, as well as its contents, was stolen. The remaining one percent involved break-ins to businesses.

“It has become clear to investigators that the man acted in a no-choice situation,” said the truck owner’s attorney, Benzi Kveller. “And he can’t disrupt the investigation, because he’s given all the information he needs to give. Under these circumstances, there’s no reason to keep him from his home and no reason to keep him inside his home.”