Israeli Arab Resident of Haifa Charged With Politically Motivated Murder

Mohammed Shinawi, 21, is indicted in the murder of a van driver and the attempted murder of a rabbinical court judge in the city earlier this month.

Mohammed Shinawi, charged with politically motivated murder and with attempted murder, in court, Haifa, January 30, 2016.
Rami Shllush

An Arab resident of Haifa was charged on Monday with the murder of a van driver in the city and the attempted murder of a rabbinical conversion judge earlier this month. According to the indictment, Mohammed Shinawi, 21, acted out of political and religious motives.

Yechiel Illouz, a rabbinical judge on the Haifa Rabbinical Court who specializes in conversions, was shot on January 3, suffering moderate wounds. A second shooting was reported nearby some 30 minutes later. The victim, Guy Kafri, who worked as a driver, died on the scene.

The Shin Bet said that Shinawi intentionally targeted Jews using a home-made Carl Gustav-style rifle "Carlo." The Shin Bet said that Shinawi turned to religion and "was involved in setting vehicles owned by Jews on fire during the 2006 Second Lebanon War." His girlfriend, the Shin Bet added, had teased him by calling him "a Zionist Jew" and a "Jew lover," the Shin Bet added.

Shinawi, a resident of the Halisa neighborhood in Haifa, turned himself in to police after an extensive manhunt was launched.

Two of his friends were charged with being accessory after the fact. Shinawi's attorney said that if it will be determined that the murder was indeed politically motivated, he would quit the case.