Jewish Convert to Islam Arrested in Connection to Car-ramming Attempts

David Alfasi was sought for trying to run over Israeli security forces on March 5 and knocking down a guard ten days later

Security forces at the scene of an attempted car-ramming attack at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, March 15, 2016.
AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP

Police said they arrested a 54-year-old Israeli man who converted from Judaism to Islam as the suspect in two separate attempted car rammings at West Bank checkpoints in early March.

The man, David Alfasi, a former Tel Aviv resident, is married to a Palestinian Muslim woman and lives in Tul Karm. He was turned over to the Israeli authorities by the Palestinian police after he was caught attempting to smuggle produce across one of the checkpoints. The police then realized that Alfasi was the suspect they had been seeking for an attempt to run over a policeman and a security guard at one of the checkpoints near Tul Karm on March 5.

Alfasi had been ordered to stop but he drove on, endangering the life of a policeman at the checkpoint, the police said. Ten days later, police say, when a soldier stopped Alfasi at a checkpoint near Tul Karm to examine his documents, Alfasi sped away, knocking down a security guard in the process.

A lawyer for Alfasi, Yariv Vinzer, said that his client had sold the car before the two incidents attributed to him. Vinzer said the security cameras at the checkpoints would prove that Alfasi was not driving the car when the alleged incidents occurred.

Vinzer added that Alfasi did not recognize the State of Israel, and that he had converted to Islam, lives in Tul Karm and therefore cannot be prosecuted for the alleged events.

The police requested that Alfasi remain in custody for seven more days, arguing that he was dangerous, had failed to provide a convincing defense against the allegations and had several prior convictions. The police said they would use Alfasi’s time in custody to investigate his claim that he had sold the car before the incidents.