Israel Sues West Bank Abduction Pranksters for More Than $160,000

Niv Asraf and Eran Nagauker are also facing criminal charges for faking Asraf’s kidnapping.

Ilan Assayag

The state is demanding expenses totalling 626,000 shekels (about $161,000) from two young Israeli men who faked an abduction near Hebron in April.

Niv Asraf and Eran Nagauker were indicted on criminal charges in June for faking Asraf’s kidnapping and deceiving the security forces that searched for him for eight hours.

Some 1,000 troops, special units and aircraft were rushed to the area after Nagauker reported that Asraf had been abducted. The forces erected roadblocks on roads in the West Bank, raided Palestinian villages and restricted the traffic and movement of local residents.

In a lawsuit filed in a Be’er Sheva court on behalf of the police and Defense Ministry yesterday, the state maintained that the sum demanded equalled the expenses incurred during the security operaton to find the allegedly kidnapped youngster.

Asraf, 22, was ultimately found in the Kiryat Arba area after Nagauker broke down under questioning and admitted that they had fabricated the abduction.

Asraf’s lawyer Moti Yosef said it wasn’t possible to estimate the cost of moving army squadrons. “Personally, I find the lawsuit strange, because we’re still in the midst of the criminal procedure against Asraf. He hasn’t been convicted yet; what if he’s acquitted?”

He said that Asraf had not called the police or asked to be looked for, which would make it difficult for the state to prove that he was responsible for the search.