Daily Israel Report

Verdict: 45 Days Community Service for Interfering w. Demolition

Father of four slapped with 45 days of community service and five months probation after trying to sabotage a truck at outpost demolition.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 3/23/2011, 8:11 PM / Last Update: 3/24/2011, 2:12 AM

Flash 90

Judge Eilat Ziskind of the Jerusalem Magistrate Court handed down a sentence of 45 days community service and five months probation for Rafael Balsam, who attempted to puncture the tire of a truck that was to take part in dismantling caravans at the Mitzpeh Abigail outpost in the southern Hevron hills.

Balsam was convicted of premeditated attempt to sabotage a car during the March 13, 2007 demolition of caravans at the Mitzpe Abigail outpost.

Judge Ziskind said while rendering her verdict that Balsam turned to one of the officers present and asked, "if he could puncture the tires of the truck. The policeman said no, but the defendant pleaded, saying: 'You're a Jew like me! What do you care? Let me puncture the tire and don't get involved.' When the officer refused, as did a second officer, the accused ran towards the truck removing a sharp instrument from his pocket to puncture the tire. The officer chased the defendant, seized him by his shirt, and the officer fell down and hurt himself slightly."

In her verdict Ziskind noted a reduced sentence was warranted as Balsam is a married father of four who served honorably in the IDF, and has a reputation for being a disciplined, honest, smart, quiet man. She also mentioned Balsam's wife's devotion, his work with the counter missionary and assimilation organization Yad L'Achim, and that this was Balsam's first offense.

At the same time, Ziskin said those reading her verdict, "should not underestimate the severity of the offenses for which defendant was convicted, or to construe his behavior as an act of courage when he tried to convince police to let him pierce truck tires to prevent the evacuation of buildings. When the officer refused... the defendant interfered with a police officer conducting his duty and asked permission to commit a felony. "

The offense Balsam was convicted of normally carries a sentence of 20 days in prison, probation, and a NIS 1,500 fine.