Abu Khder’s murderer ruled fit to stand trial

Despite early opinion to the contrary, Yosef Haim Ben-David determined to be mentally fit to stand trial.

David Rosenberg,

Yosef Haim Ben David
Yosef Haim Ben David
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The state has ruled that Yosef Haim Ben-David, accused of murdering 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder in 2014, is mentally fit to stand trial for his actions, Channel 2 reported.

A court psychiatrist in Jerusalem rejected an earlier opinion which had argued the defendant was mentally unstable and therefore not responsible for his actions at the time of the murder. 

Police accused Ben-David of being the ringleader of a murder plot in July, 2014, looking to take revenge on an Arab target following the gruesome murders of three kidnapped Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists.

Ben-David, then 29, is believed to have organized the group, which set fire to an Arab store in the village of Hizme near Jerusalem in June, before planning and carrying out the abduction of Mohammed Abu Khder in July. The gang kidnapped Abu Khder and beat him unconscious before lighting him on fire in the Jerusalem Forest. 

The determination of mental fitness comes despite a long history of psychiatric problems, including professional treatment following violent outbursts. Ben-David had been arrested in 2012 on suspicion that attempted to strangle his baby daughter.