Israel Police Seek to Charge Jaffa Arsonists With Attempted Murder

Police also plan to charge a Jewish man who participated in a mob attack on an Arab man in a Tel Aviv suburb during the rioting in mixed cities

Bar Peleg
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Masked suspects of throwing a firebomb on a Jaffa home, today.
Masked suspects of throwing a firebomb on a Jaffa home, today.
Bar Peleg

Israeli police are seeking to charge the people who threw firebombs at a home in Jaffa with attempted murder and arson, court documents show. A 12-year-old boy was seriously wounded in the attack, which took place on May 14. Two brothers, both Arab residents of the city, have been arrested as suspects.

The planned charges had previously been under a gag order, but the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court lifted it on Sunday at Haaretz’s request. Also on Sunday, the court ordered the second suspect held without bail until May 30. 

“Israeli democracy is going through tough times,” Judge Yigal Nimrody wrote in his decision. “At a time when Israelis are hiding in their homes due to barrages of missiles and security forces are trying to defeat the enemy from without, some among us have chosen to take the law into their own hands. Anarchy by rioters must be treated with extra severity when committed under the auspices of the events in the south.”

Also on Sunday, a newly established emergency committee in Jaffa set conditions for acceding to a request by Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai to meet with representatives of the city’s Arab residents.
In a statement, the committee said it was disappointed that Huldai hadn’t visited Jaffa and had given backing to the way police, “who see us as enemies rather than citizens with equal rights,” handled the recent riots. Consequently, it said, it would agree to a meeting only if the municipality took “a clear stand against the police’s conduct, from the start of these events to their finish,” removed all special forces from Jaffa and removed the checkpoints erected in the city.

Sabri Gintazi, father of 12-year-old Mohammad, injured when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at his Jaffa home, points to the damage after the attack.Credit: Oren Ziv/Siha Mekomit

On Saturday night, a court ruled that one of the four suspects arrested on suspicion of attacking Arabs in Bat Yam during the rioting should be held without bail until Tuesday. Police plan to charge Yaakov Cohen, 32, with assault, battery, rioting, incitement to racism and various other crimes.

Cohen has denied beating Said Moussa, who was pulled out of his car and attacked by a mob two weeks ago, but police gave the court footage showing him participating in the attack. Cohen is also suspected of running a WhatsApp group that called on people to attack Arabs and of issuing such calls himself. His public defender, Ofer Hagoel, said Cohen has no criminal record, is cooperating with police and denies that he had any intent to commit assault with racist motives.

Said Moussa, minutes after he was pulled out of his car and beaten in Bat Yam, last week.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

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