17-year-old Indicted for Assault on Rabbis for Human Rights Chief

Assailant was caught on video threatening Rabbi Arik Ascherman with a knife near settlement of Itamar.

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A settler attacks Rabbis for Human Rights right Rabbi Arik Ascherman with a knife near the settlement of Itamar in West Bank. October 23, 2015.
A settler attacks Rabbi Arik Ascherman, who worked for Rabbis for Human Rights at the time, with a knife near the settlement of Itamar in West Bank. October 23, 2015.Credit: Rabbis for Human Rights

A 17-year-old was indicted Friday morning for assaulting Rabbi Arik Ascherman, executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights, in October.

The minor is charged with causing grievous bodily harm under aggravated circumstances, possession of a knife and possession of ammunition. The prosecutor's office stated that a search of the suspect's house uncovered a knife like that seen in a video clip of the attack, a face mask, a military stun grenade, bullets and a slingshot.

According to the indictment, the masked minor arrived to the scene armed with a knife and stones. He ran toward Ascherman and a foreign journalist while holding the stones and waving a knife at them, demanding they go downhill. The defendant then threw stones at Ascherman's body, and continued to strike and kick Ascherman while waving the knife at him.

The indictment continues to say that Ascherman began to fall downhill as the suspect was beating him. At one point, the defendant tightly grabbed Ascherman's neck, knocking him on his knees while the defendant continued to strangle him and hit him in the head.

The suspect, who is known to the police from involvement in previous incidents, was arrested last week and confessed to the assault and reenacted it. 

The teen’s attorney, Itamar Ben-Gvir, questioned the validity of his client’s confession, since it was made before he was allowed to consult a lawyer. Ben-Gvir also termed it “regrettable that at a time of attacks on settlers,” the police unit in charge of anti-Arab hate crimes “is dealing with a case in which a leftist provocateur was provoking settlers and inciting Arabs to commit attacks, and instead of keeping him away, it’s harassing the Jews.” 

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