Two of the suspects originally arrested in connection with Shufersal abuse case
Two of the suspects originally arrested in connection with Shufersal abuse caseYonatan Sindel/Flash90

After more than a year of inaction, the Attorney’s Office decided this week to amend its indictment of a Palestinian Arab who has now been accused of abuse, rather than simple assault, of a young haredi man with special needs who was employed at a branch of the Shufersal chain of stores in Gush Etzion.

According to a report in Behadrey Haredim, the attorneys representing the young man and his family, Itamar Ben Gvir and Yosef Mazar, were informed of the decision by the Jerusalem District Attorney, Danny Witman.

The case originally came to light just over a year ago, when videos surfaced of what turned out to be systematic abuse of the young haredi man by at least one Arab fellow employee. Shufersal professed itself to be shocked at the incidents, reporting them to the police and dismissing the employees concerned.

At the time, three Arab employees were arrested along with the manager of the store, but the cases were quickly closed against two of the employees along with the manager, who had been accused of ignoring the complaints of the haredi man that he was being abused. The remaining defendant was released to house arrest.

Attorney Ben Gvir criticized the Prosecution at the time, stating that it was “a disgraceful decision by the District Attorney’s Office, one that gives a green light to abusers and sadists. I have no doubt that if the identities of the victims and perpetrators were reversed and it was a case involving Jews abusing a helpless Arab, the State Attorney’s Office would have applied to have all the defendants held in detention until the conclusion of proceedings against them.”

Gush Etzion council head Shlomi Ne’eman added that “if such a thing had happened in Europe we would all be crying out anti-Semitism and rightly so. We will not accept such nationalistic-based harassment and abuse.”

Now, over a year later and following submissions from the attorneys involved and repeated requests to change the terms of the indictment, the District Attorney’s Office has decided to revisit the case and prosecute one of the Arabs for abuse. Kamal Hamidan, the person filmed hitting, cursing, and abusing the young man, is a resident of Beit Jala and will now be called to an additional hearing in relation to the new charges. A new team of lawyers has been appointed to oversee the case.

“For the first time in history, I have reason to congratulate the Attorney’s Office for this significant decision that rectifies its former error,” responded attorney Itamar Ben Gvir. “All the same, it appears to me that it would also be appropriate to bring to justice all those who were partners to this crime, including the photographer and anyone else who knew what was going on and remained silent.”

Attorney Mazar added: “We will not rest and will not remain silent until all the abusers are brought to justice. We are preparing a civil complaint against all those who abused and were involved in this serious incident.”