Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the extremist Islamic Movement, entered prison Sunday to begin serving his sentence for rioting and assaulting a police officer. Salah will serve a five-month sentence.
150 Israeli Muslims accompanied Salah to prison and demonstrated their support. Among them was Tali Fahima, an Israeli Jewish woman famous for assisting senior Fatah terrorist Zakariah Zubeidi during the bloodiest years of the Oslo War (Intifada) before she converted to Islam in June.
The Islamic Movement head was also accompanied by Arab MKs and by members of the High Arab Follow-Up Committee. He held a news conference within the gates of the prison before entering.
Salah was initially sentenced to nine months in prison for his crimes, which were committed during a riot on the Temple Mount two and a half years ago. Salah spit in a policeman's face during the riot.
His sentence was reduced by judges in the Jerusalem District Court. The judges noted that by spitting in the officer's face, Salah “not only harmed [the officer] personally, but also challenged the authority of the police force as a whole,” and that Salah “was a dominant presence at the scene, and his actions provoked the others.”
In addition, they said, Salah was aware that his actions had the potential to cause harm, and has yet to take responsibility for what he did or express regret.
Despite this, the judges decided to reduce his sentence by five months because the initial sentence was unusually harsh ,given the crime.