Israel Files Indictments Against Teens Over Arab Youth Lynching

Indictments describe chain of events that led to brutal beating of 17-year-old Jamal Julani of East Jerusalem, who was left unconscious and brought to the hospital in critical condition.

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed indictments against nine Israeli teenagers who were involved in the attempted lynch of an Arab youth in Jerusalem earlier this month.

The indictments describe the chain of events that led to the brutal beating of 17-year-old Jamal Julani of East Jerusalem, who was left unconscious and barely breathing and brought to the hospital in critical condition.

One indictment charges the oldest of the suspects, 19-year-old Shimon Simantov, with incitement to racism, incitement to violence and aggravated assault. A second indictment charges seven of the minors with similar crimes. Both of these cases will be tried in the Jerusalem District Court. A 15-year-old girl will be tried in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on charges of incitement to racism and incitement to violence; she has been released to house arrest.

According to the indictments, the suspects specifically planned to target Arabs that evening. At around 10 P.M. on August 16, some 60 young people gathered at Jerusalem’s Zion Square. One of the female suspects called the attention of the other teenagers to some Arabs sitting nearby, adding “They can't sit there.”

“She and the others decided to beat them. One of them told the others: ‘Whoever is a man will hit Arabs,’” the indictment read. To incite the crowd, one of the teenage girls started shouting racist curses, such as “Mohammed is dead” and “A Jew is a soul, an Arab is a son of a bitch.” As the incident progressed, they drove away some Arabs that were sitting nearby.

Close to 11:30 P.M., a group of about 30 teenagers began marching to Zion Square while chanting racist curses; in the square itself, more teenagers joined the mob. One of them saw an Arab walking by and tried to kick him, but he got away. Three more Arabs passersby were attacked and escaped by running away; one of them fell but got up and managed to flee.

A little bit later, the mob saw Julani, who was walking by with three friends. The three friends got away but Julani was caught. “He was harshly beaten until he lost consciousness and his breathing and heart stopped,” the indictment read.

Julani was released from hospital last Thursday and still cannot recall anything that happened to him that night in downtown Jerusalem.