Israeli Jew Sentenced to 21 Months for Stabbing Arab in Politically Motivated Crime

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Oz Segel in court, April 2015.
Oz Segel in court, April 2015.Credit: Nir Keidar

Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Sunday sentenced a Jewish man who stabbed an Arab in Herzliya last April to 21 months in prison. Oz Segal, who was convicted of causing injury under aggravated circumstances and possessing a knife, will also have to pay the victim 12,000 shekels ($3,000) in compensation.

Segal took a kitchen knife, approached an Arab street cleaner and stabbed him in the back while yelling “Death to Arabs!”

Judge Shamai Becker rejected Segal’s claim of insanity and wrote in his verdict, “Not only did Segal know he was committing a crime, but, on the contrary, if we were to adopt his argument (which is absurd, in our opinion), that he was being chased by ghosts and voices and wanted to hide from them in prison, then he chose a solution and a tool that will achieve what he sought – being put behind bars Not only did he choose to commit a crime, but it was he and no other – no ghost, no voice, no angel – who chose to stab an Arab.”

The prosecuting attorney, Meital Seti, asked for a sentence of between 18 and 38 months, primarily because Segal had no previous criminal record. His defense attorneys asked that he be sentenced to community service. Becker sentenced him to prison and wrote, “The act [Segal] committed was exceedingly serious. I doubt that words can describe the feeling or the situation of a man who earns his living cleaning streets, who was doing his thing without bothering anyone, to suddenly have someone come up from behind for no reason, with a knife in his hand and wishing him to die, and stab him.”

The judge added that if it weren’t for Segal’s mental state, which led to the suspension of previous criminal proceedings against him in 2011, he would have imposed a harsher punishment. But it was not possible to suffice with community service, he noted, and he even added to the minimum sentence requested because Segal had clearly planned the attack beforehand.

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