Israeli Veterinarian Suspected of Ordering Attack on a Business Rival

Beit Shemesh attackers pretended to be animal rights activists.

Olivier Fitoussi

A veterinarian with the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of ordering an attack on a colleague due to a business rivalry, police said on Thursday.

Some three weeks ago a veterinarian was called to treat an injured dog in an old soccer field in Beit Shemesh. When he arrived he was attacked by masked men, who tied him up and beat him with rocks all over his body, breaking his ribs.

Before they fled the assailants gave the impression that the attack was over the veterinarian’s work in a company that provides animals for scientific experiments. While beating him up they shouted “monkey murderer” and left leaflets of the NGO Anonymous for Animal Rights at the site.

Police initially suspected that animal rights activists were behind the attack. On Thursday, however, police said that after the attack five suspects had been arrested, one of them at Ben-Gurion International Airport trying to flee the country. The suspects said in their interrogation that they were hired to attack the victim by a rival veterinarian.

On Thursday a veterinarian, 50, was arrested on suspicion of having ordered the attack, allegedly because the victim had opened a rival clinic in the Mateh Yehuda region.

When the police came to the suspect’s home to arrest him, he ran inside in a bid to destroy evidence, and his son attacked the officers with mace, police said. The son was also arrested.

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Thursday extended the suspect’s custody by five days.