An indictment was handed down Thursday morning against six Haifa Arabs who are accused of participating in an attempted “lynch” murder by an Arab mob several weeks ago against two IDF soldiers.
The two off-duty soldiers were moderately injured when a gang of Arabs began throwing bricks and other objects at them, and then beat them with metal sticks and stones, while shouting anti-Jewish curses and slogans at them. The Arabs, using a knife, also carved the term “PLO” onto the foreheads of one of the soldiers.
Despite the copious testimony of the two soldiers regarding the anti-Semitic nature of the attack, the indictment makes no mention of “nationalistic reasons” as being behind the attack.
The incident occurred about two weeks ago, when Arabs near Rambam Hospital in Haifa attacked the soldiers. Witnesses told police that one of the Arabs asked the soldiers, who were on a break from the army, if they were Jewish. When the soldiers answered affirmatively, four Arabs jumped out of the car and started attacking them, using sticks, metal pipes, and stones, while kicking and punching them. Witnesses added that the soldiers were struck on the head numerous times. Later, another group of Arabs – as many as a dozen – joined the gang and participated in the attack.
The soldiers called out for help, and hospital security guards came out and began fighting the Arabs. The Arabs jumped into a vehicle and sped away, but an alert security guard was able to get his license plate number. It was on the basis of the guard's quick thinking that police were able to make an arrest. Police are still searching for the other suspects involved in the attack.
The indictment charged the Arabs – two adults and four minors – with “aggravated assault.
Haifa police chief Moshe Cohen told reporters that “the incident started out as an argument, apparently nationalistically motivated, with two soldiers who were wearing civilian clothes attacked. An investigation is ongoing.” Immediately after the attack, Haifa judge Za'id Falah, who presided over arraignment of the Arabs when they were first arrested, said that the incident “reminds us of the lynch in Ramallah,” when an Arab mob in 2000 murdered two Israel Defense Forces reservists, Vadim Nurzhitz (sometimes spelled as Norzhich) and Yossi Avrahami, after they mistakenly entered the city. However, last week Falah said that he would not classify the Haifa incident as a “lynch.”