Yeshiva Student Charged With Attempted Murder

Helen Freedman, AFSI Executive Director, says that the charges of "attempted murder" filed against 18-year-old Shimshon Cytryn are part of the campaign against the disengagement protestors.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 3:13 PM

Freedman, who heads Americans for a Safe Israel, calls on the public to provide help for Cytryn's legal defense (see below). She says that the accusation is "outrageous" and "indicates the lengths to which the Sharon government will go to demonize those opposed to the expulsion."

Shimshon Cytryn of Nachliel, a yeshiva student, is charged with "attempted murder" of an Arab rock throwing youth during the June 29 riot in the Muassi area of Gush Katif. For days afterwards, the Arab was portrayed as having been critically wounded, when in fact the next morning it was already known that he was only lightly hurt.

In addition, Freedman writes, "Shimshon was libeled by the media as having perpetrated a 'lynching' against the Arab [youth], when actually the Arab mentioned was engaged with other Arabs in a stone-throwing attack on Jews who returned in kind." The word "lynching" was widely used in the media to refer to the incident, despite the fact that it was merely a rock fight between Jews and Muasi Arabs.

An eyewitness on the scene, who wished to be known only as A.D., told Arutz-7 at the time, "What happened was that one Jew threw rocks, and then about 30 Arabs came out and started pounding everything in sight with rocks. It was a terrible disgrace for the IDF - I came home all in shock at what I had seen. The soldiers were simply unable to protect themselves from this onslaught, even though the Arabs were pounding the jeeps and everything. The only time the soldiers did something real was when the Jews started throwing rocks back!"

Regarding the alleged "lynching," A.D. said the television footage of an Arab lying on the ground and then two Jewish boys running towards him and throwing rocks at him was a distortion of what actually happened. "That's not the story!" he said. "I saw this same Arab get hit in the head with a rock - and yet he continued to throw rocks, like a tiger, for the next 15 minutes! And then I saw some reporters go over to him and tell him to lie down and act as if he was unconscious. Later on, he was taken out walking on his own, holding on to a soldier..."

The wounded Arab himself later said that he was hit not by a rock but by the butt of a soldier's M-16 rifle.

Shimshon has been held for nearly two months in jail. He was originally kept in solitary confinement in a tiny cell in HaSharon Prison in Netanya. "At one point," his father Shmuel said, "two left-wing lawyers came and visited him, and were shocked at what they saw. They said that even though they don't agree with him politically, he shouldn't be held that way, and that they would try to do something about it." The next day, Shimshon received a visit from a Shabak representative, and was later taken to Dekel Prison in Be'er Sheva, with improved conditions.

Shimshon is being held in prison until the end of the legal proceedings against him. In a recent hearing, he requested to be placed in a special yeshiva in central Israel under the supervision of Rabbi Herbst of Shaalvim. The judge, however, agreed with the prosecutor's assessment that he was dangerous and could be an influence on others. The prosecutor had said that "Shimshon's eyes" indicate that he was in fact dangerous.

Shimshon's father Shmuel was himself imprisoned for two months following Yitzchak Rabin's assassination. He was not permitted to know the nature of the charges against him. Now, as well, he is confined to house arrest, following an incident in a Be'er Sheva courtroom several weeks ago. Shmuel said that during a hearing for his son, he protested a policeman's physical touching/pushing his daughter. "The policeman was apparently waiting for me to complain," Shmuel said, "and he let me have it - and then they placed me under house arrest."

Shmuel said that he does not as yet have a lawyer for his son. "He is facing very serious charges, and we have to find a top-line lawyer. This costs money."

He said he would also like to raise money, if he can, for other elements of the campaign: "We need a professional film maker, who will be able to analyze all the TV footage of the rock-throwing incident, and find all the places in which they were tampered with; also for a private investigator to find witnesses; and for a public relations campaign, with posters and rallies and the like."

Shimshon, Shmuel and his parents in Jerusalem are all U.S. citizens. Shmuel's parents immigrated to Israel from Virginia.

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