Court upholds convictions of 3 Israelis in Arab teen's death

Gang, led by Yosef Haim Ben-David, was convicted of burning Arab teen to death in 2014, following kidnapping and murder of Israeli teens.


Yosef Ben-David
Yosef Ben-David

JTA - Israel’s Supreme Court upheld the convictions of three Israeli Jews convicted of burning a Jerusalem Arab teen to death in a revenge killing.

The court on Thursday upheld life sentences for two of the killers, one a minor at the time of the murder, and a 21-year prison term for the other minor involved in the killing.

The three kidnapped Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, from eastern Jerusalem, then beat and burned him alive in a forest outside of the city on July 1, 2014, soon after the bodies of three Jewish teens kidnapped and murdered by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas were found in a shallow grave near Hevron in Judea more than two weeks after they went missing from a hitchhiking stand near Alon Shvut in the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem.

At the time of his conviction, the Jerusalem District Court determined that Yosef Ben-David, now 33, was mentally fit to be sentenced, rejecting his insanity plea that he should not be held responsible for his actions at the time of the kidnapping and murder because of a history of mental illness. He was sentenced in May 2016.

“All three made a decision to cause death while committing the act, in a spontaneous partnership,” the judges wrote. “The acts they carried out have turned into the Abu Khdeir affair, and exceeded the boundaries of a regular criminal case. The murder calls for profound self-examination from top to bottom in Israeli society as to dealing with the phenomenon of racism and its metastases.”

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