Top Rabbis Call for Donations to Israeli Charged With Killing Palestinian Woman

In a letter, leading rabbis call on Israelis to give to the legal fund of the minor accused of throwing the rock that killed Aisha Rabi in October

A demonstration to free the suspect outside the Central District Court, Lod, January 25, 2019.
Tomer Appelbaum

A number of leading rabbis in religious Zionist circles published an open letter on Thursday calling for people to donate to defend a 16-year-old suspect who is charged with killing Aisha Rabi, a 47-year-old Palestinian woman. 

A rock was thrown at Rabi's car while she was driving with her husband and nine-year-old daughter in October. The rock shattered the windshield and struck Rabi, killing her.

The rabbis, including former Knesset member Haim Druckman, called on people to “donate generously” to a fund called Free Z.N. - the suspect's initials - “so that justice can quickly come to light.” 

The letter states the name of the defendant, who lives in the West Bank, but it has not been released to the public. The names of minors are barred from publication.

Undated photo of Palestinian Aisha Mohammed Rabi, murdered by stone-throwing in the West Bank in October 2018.
uncredited

Also signed on the document are Yaakov Ariel, former chief rabbi of Ramat Gan; Dov Lior, former rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hebron and a figure identified with the radical right; and Yehoshua Shapira, head of Ramat Gan Yeshiva

Last week, the teenager was indicted for throwing the two-kilogram rock at Rabi's car. The main evidence in the case is the rock, on which the teenager’s DNA was found. He denies the allegations.

The teenager’s family released a video on Thursday soliciting donations from the public for his defense. In the video, his mother says that the suspect has not been with them for over a month, and “this entire crazy reality has nothing to do with him. I couldn’t have imagined it in my worst nightmares.” His father added that during the incident in which Rabi was killed, the boy was at yeshiva. He does not get involved in such things, the father says, calling him “stable, serious, and a studious boy.”

Last week Shmuel Eliyahu, the rabbi of Safed and a prominent figure in religious Zionist circles, claimed that the Israeli justice system is discriminating against the boys at the Pri Haaretz yeshiva in the West Bank, where Rabi’s suspected killers studied. “What happened? What are you accused of? You threw a stone," Eliyahu said. "Do you know how many stones and thrown in Judea and Samaria that the army does nothing about?” 

Following his statement, Israeli rights groups called for disciplinary action and criminal charges to be pursued against Eliyahu, who told Pri Haaretz students that they have little to fear, as "out of prison he cometh to reign,” quoting the Book of Ecclesiastes. 

Meanwhile, a crowdfunding project launched last week by Labor list hopeful Yaya Fink has raised 23,000 out of the target 25,000 shekels for the Rabi family.