The High Court's unexpected ruling

High Court issues surprising ruling demanding State explain why it refuses to question witness to death of American student during hike.

Gary Willig ,

 (Illustrative)High Court of Justice
(Illustrative)High Court of Justice
Flash 90

The High Court of Justice has ordered the State to explain its failure to question the witness to the death of an American student on a school hike.

In 2014, Ariel Newman, a student from Great Neck, New York, was on a hike in the Judean desert with the Mechinat Yeud program for Jews from the Diaspora, when he collapsed and died from heat exhaustion.

The State opened an investigation into Newman's death as a possible case of negligent homicide. The investigation has opened and closed three times with no legal action being taken.

Newman's parents submitted a petition to the High Court demanding that the State question Naftali Rothstein, one of the witnesses to the student's death on the hike who was not questioned during the three probes. In October, the court ordered the State to reopen the probe again.

In its newest order, which was given in December, the court gave the State until January 6 to either continue its opposition to the questioning of Rothstein or agree to finally hear his testimony.

The order was unexpected, as the initial decision in October was related to the testimony of Mayer Horowitz, another hiker during that fateful tour. The court had been expected to order the investigation to be closed after Horowitz's testimony proved to be inconclusive.

The Newman family has accused the State Prosecutor of failing to carry out a proper investigation into their son's death. Arutz Sheva published an op-ed by Ariel's father, Mark Newman, on the matter.