Charges softened on Arab attackers - because victims didn't flee

Prosecution reaches plea bargain with attackers saying brothers fought because they took photographs instead of fleeing their attackers.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter
Hadas Parush/Flash90

Two brothers who were attacked by Arabs in the Old City of Jerusalem were stunned to discover that the State Prosecutor's Office had announced its intention to reach an agreement which would define the incident as a confrontation, meaning that they would share some of the blame.

The prosecution's stated reason was that the brothers did not flee the scene, but rather stayed to photograph their attackers.

Attorney Chaim Bleicher of the Honenu organization said that the brothers had been attacked without provocation, and that one brother attempted to defend himself while the other brother was not able to defend himself at all.

Bleicher added that as a result of the attack, the brothers needed medical treatment, and that the indictment for being involved in a fight did not reflect the seriousness of the defendants' actions. Bleicher also claimed that the brothers and himself as their attorney were provided an incorrect time for the hearing in which the State Attorney's Office announced its intention to reach an agreement, so that they could not express their opposition to the court.

The attack took place about three months ago, when the two brothers returned from prayers at the Western Wall wearing tefillin and prayer shawls. Three Arabs blocked the brothers' way to a yeshiva where they were studying, while shouting at them and cursing them. One of the brothers took out a camera to photograph the attackers. "Even before I managed to take a photograph, they were on me," he says.

The attackers beat the brothers until they needed hospitalization and medical treatment. Police arrested the suspects and charged them with assault. As stated, this week the State Prosecutor's Office decided to reach an agreement in which both sides would be charged with brawling, after the assailants claimed that the brothers had brought the injuries on themselves because they dared to photograph the rioters and did not flee the scene. The court is expected to decide on the matter soon.

Attorney Bleicher said that "this is an attack on Jews in eastern Jerusalem and is part of a frequent phenomenon. A plea bargain is wrong and does not reflect the attack my clients have experienced. Justice against the attackers can bring about deterrence and increase security in the region."