Shimshon Cytryn Cleared of Attempted Murder, Guilty of Battery

Shimshon Cytryn guilty of aggravated battery, cleared of attempted murder. His father is under house arrest for stopping Arabs who smashed his car.

Hillel Fendel,

Israel's Supreme Court
Israel's Supreme Court

Shmuel Cytryn, a shepherd from Nachliel in the central Binyamin region, was not present as his son Shimshon's verdict was read aloud Sunday in the Be'er Sheva District courthouse. Instead, Cytryn-the-father is under house arrest for having tried to stop two Arabs who stoned his car and smashed his windshield.

The verdict handed down today concerned a rock-throwing incident in Gush Katif, and found Shimshon guilty of aggravated assault, but innocent of attempted murder.  It was to have been handed down this past Wednesday, but was postponed until today (Sunday) because of the incident that landed Shimshon's father under arrest.

Sentencing is expected only three months from now, after the Testing Service presents its reports.  The challenge now for the family and legal experts is to put and end to the house arrest under which Shimshon-the-son is placed, and to enable him to be married to his intended, to whom he became engaged in the past month.

The story began nearly two years ago, several weeks before the Disengagement/expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Shomron. In protest of the withdrawal, well over 150 Jewish youths had taken over an abandoned seashore building not far from Shirat HaYam - one of the 21 Jewish Gaza communities later destroyed in the Disengagement. The youths took over the building after the IDF destroyed ten other abandoned structures nearby, into which it feared anti-expulsion protestors would move in and impede the expulsion from Gush Katif.

When army and police forces moved in to throw them out, nearby Arabs living in a building across the road joined in the fray, throwing rocks and injuring one Israeli; the Jews threw rocks back as well. Several Jews were arrested in the ensuing melee. It was reported that an Arab had been "mortally wounded," and the situation was widely described by media, political and military sources as a Jewish "lynching" of Arabs.

Manhunt Begins
Amidst this charged atmosphere, a manhunt was launched for two Israeli youths filmed throwing rocks from close range at an Arab. When 18-year-old Shimshon Cytryn was finally arrested a few days later, it was widely assumed that he would receive up to 20 years in prison for his role.

However, as Arutz-7 reported at the time, most of reports did not mention that the injured Arab had been throwing rocks at Israelis for 15 minutes beforehand - and that he was up and about even while media reports continued to describe him as "mortally wounded." In addition, the purported victim, Hilal Ziad Al-Majaydeh, told Voice of Israel Radio the next day that he had not been attacked by a civilian, but rather by an IDF soldier.

One person on the scene, known as A.D., told Arutz-7 shortly afterwards about this alleged "lynching." He said that the television footage of an Arab lying on the ground and then two Jewish boys running towards him and throwing rocks at him was a distortion of what actually happened. "That's not the story!" he said. "I saw this same Arab get hit in the head with a rock - and yet he continued to throw rocks, like a tiger, for the next 15 minutes! And then I saw some reporters go over to him and tell him to lie down and act as if he was unconscious. Later on, he was taken out walking on his own, holding on to a soldier..."

District Court Ignores Testing Service Reports
The injustice continued after Shimshon's arrest and during his incarceration. After two months, he requested to be released to house arrest, bringing no fewer than three Testing Service reports attesting that he did not present a public danger. Despite this, District Court Judge Binyamin Azulai turned him down four times. Finally, in November 2005, 4.5 months after Shimshon's arrest, Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy released him to the care of a rabbi in Shaalvim, with sharp criticism of the lower court judge for not doing it sooner.
There are those who are normal and never do anything for anyone, but there are also those who aren't normal and who can't sit idly by and watch bad things happen

On the Way to the Courthouse
Shimshon and his father Shmuel were on their way to hear the verdict this past Wednesday when two Arabs in a small truck tried to cut them off, threw rocks at their car, and broke their windshield. The father, speaking from his neighbor's house where he is being held under house arrest, said that he was treated by the police as if he were the attacker.

Shmuel said, "A policeman later told me that he respected what I did - but I should never have called the police..."

He added, " The judge told me that even if I was right, I should have just written down their license number and called the police, and not tried to take the law into my own hands. When I said that there is such a thing as a citizen's arrest, she said that a normal person wouldn't do that. I said that when I killed three terrorists in battle and dragged out the body of my dead commander and received an award for it - that also wasn't normal; and just a few weeks ago, when a civilian caught an escaped rapist and held him until the police came [sic], this also wasn't normal... There are those who are normal and never do anything for anyone, but there are also those who aren't normal and who can't sit idly by and watch bad things happen not only to their own children, but to everyone else's children and who care enough about the Jewish People to be a little bit abnormal..."

Shimshon Cytryn, a yeshiva student known for his dedication to his studies and who has recently become engaged to be married, was represented at first by the Honenu Civil Rights organization, and later by an attorney in Tel Aviv.

"I accept those who are normal," Shmuel Cytryn said; "maybe those who are normal can also accept me a little, and help us... If you can try to contact Honenu [legal civil rights organization] or similar organizations, it would be very much appreciated."

For more information on the case and how to help defray the family's legal expenses, send email to