Extremist Acquitted After Hevron Altercation

Left-wing extremist Ezra Nawi cleared on appeal; previously convicted of charges relating to altercation with IDF soldiers near Hevron

David Lev,

Ezra Navi
Ezra Navi

A well-known leftwing anarchist was cleared of charges Thursday over a 2009 incident, in which he shouted at an IDF soldier that he was a “war criminal.” A report in Ha'aretz Thursday said that Ezra Nawi was cleared of all charges in the incident, when he resisted arrest by soldiers after entering a closed military zone.

The incident occurred near Hevron, when soldiers were attempting to remove rioters and anarchists who had gathered in an area the army subsequently declared a closed military zone. Under Israeli law, the IDF has the right to make such a declaration to protect life and property.

Nawi was arrested when he refused to leave by IDF soldier Idan Morag, who, for his trouble, was subjected to a verbal barrage by Naw, which included his calling the soldier a “war criminal.” In response, the state charged Nawi with illegal gathering in a closed military zone, and with insulting a public official while he was engaged in his job.

Nawi was convicted by a court on both charges, but the conviction on illegal presence in the military zone was overturned, after an appeals court ruled that the army was incorrect in declaring the area a closed military zone. Nawi then appealed the conviction resulting from his insult to Morag, and the State on Thursday decided not to contest the appeal – with the court declaring Nawi exonerated of the charges.

Morag said that he felt that justice was not served. “I felt terrible when he insulted me,” Morag said. “When I undertake a task in the army I feel as if I am on a mission, and when I am called a 'war criminal,' it evokes connotations that I do not associate with the IDF.”