Dr. Baruch Goldstein
Dr. Baruch Goldstein Israel news photo: file

The Jerusalem District Court ruled Thursday that statements praising Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Muslims in Hevron in 1994, do not constitute incitement to violence, Haaretz reported.

In so ruling, the court upheld an earlier Magistrates' Court decision in the case, which ruled that the statements in question, by nationalist activist Michael Ben Chorin, do not constitute incitement.

According to the charge sheet, Ben Chorin praised Goldstein in television report that was taped in the course of the Purim celebration in Kiryat Arba in 2003. He said, among other things, about Goldstein: “We remember him favorably... forever, such a great and righteous man. We see how far ahead of his time he was, and that he saw that the Oslo Accords would lead to a great murder... he prevented a massacre of the Jews of Hevron, avenged the blood of Rabbi Kahane and saved the community of Hevron from a great massacre.”  

Ben Chorin was charged with incitement. When the Magistrates' Court acquitted him, the State Prosecution appealed the decision, and the case came before District Court Judges Yitzchak Inbar, Yosef Shapira and Nava Ben-Or. The panel determined “there is no doubt that the statements constitute praise or identification with the acts of violence and terror that Baruch Goldstein perpetrated." However, it added, "it appears that Ben Chorin's statements – harsh, grave and revolting as they may be, represent his personal opinion, and it is doubtful that in themselves, they contain actual potential for carrying out a violent act.”

Ben Chorin was represented by Attorney Vadim Shuv of the Jerusalem District Public Defender's Office.