Tel Aviv beach
Tel Aviv beach Israel news photo: (illustrative)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his shock and concern Saturday night in response to the lynching of a 59-year-old Jewish man at the Tel Baruch beach Friday night by a gang of intoxicated young Arab men from the village of Jaljulya. A 17-year-old girl from Kfar Saba and a 19-year-old female from Petach Tikvah were with the gang.

The prime minister told Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonvitch that he was "shocked and worried" by the recent surge in murders around the country. Seven people have been murdered in the past two weeks, including two in a homosexual club two weeks ago.

Netanyahu told Aharonovitch Saturday night that he expects zero tolerance for gang activity such as the murder of Leonard "Arik" Karp. The prime minister also instructed the public security minister to expedite probes of the murder and bring the perpetrators to justice as quickly as possible.

"The cruel violence we have seen in recent days has no place in a civilized society in general, and in Israel specifically," Aharonvitch agreed. "It is inconceivable that an innocent person could be strolling with his family and be beaten to death by a group of thugs."

The minister praised police for their quick arrest of suspects. He also said the cooperation of all government offices is needed in order to confront such violent crimes.

Evening at Beach Turns Into Nightmare

The small family was sitting on the bench at the northern Tel Aviv shore, when the gang of young men, all around 20 years old, strolled past. The Arabs made a comment about Leonard "Arik" Karp's 25-year-old daughter, and the father answered in kind.

Within moments, a verbal attack quickly became a lynching.

The mother and daughter fled, with some of the young men chasing and beating them. The other members of the gang focused their attack on the father.

The daughter managed to put a call through to police; she and her mother sustained light injuries. Although police say they arrived in less than five minutes, by the time they arrived and mother and daughter had returned to look for Karp, he had disappeared.

"We operated forces to locate the missing man, and at the same time located the suspects," Police Commander David Gez said.

A trail of blood seemed to indicate that Karp had tried to escape the vicious gang, but to no avail. His badly beaten body was later found floating in the water near the Israel Electric Corporation building.  It was taken to Abu Kabir Forensic Institute for examination.

Police rounded up 10 suspects, thanks in part to a tip called in by the 17-year-old girl who had been with the gang. Several of the suspects were caught in the nearby Horashim Forest, still drunk. The girl, who allegedly confessed and led police to the site of the attack, reportedly told them that she had tried to stop the beating, but had been slapped by one of the drunken Arabs for her efforts. Her attorney later said that any confession she had made was invalid, inasmuch as it had been obtained by police without allowing her benefit of legal representation prior to questioning.

Police said they would seek a gag order to prevent the media from publishing photos of the suspects in order not to compromise any future witness identification process.