By Andrew Friedman/TPS
The Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in the appeal of a 14-year-old Palestinian who stabbed a Jewish boy in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood of Yerushalayim in October 2015, causing him life threatening injuries, and attempted to stab a second person. The Yerushalayim District court convicted the teen, who was 13 at the time of the attack in May, 2016, on two counts of attempted murder, sentenced him to 12 years in prison and instructed him to pay damages to the victims’ families.
The attack, which occurred as part of a wave of stabbings around the capital that began on Rosh Hashanah, on September 14, aroused particular ire in Israeli society, both due to the attackers young age and because most of the incident was caught by security cameras.
Attorney Lea Tsemel, representing the attacker, said her client should have faced lesser charges, not attempted murder, and added that a 12-year sentence was too stringent given the boy’s age. Rather, she said the the defendant should have been sent for “rehabilitation” using “peaceful methods.”
But speaking on behalf of one of the victims, attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir said the families of the victims were angry that prosecutors refused to appeal the 12-year sentence, a relatively light punishment in light of the fact that Israeli law provides for far greater penalties, including decades in prison.
“The prosecution’s behavior allowed Lea Tsemel to come in here with bizarre claims because she has nothing to lose,” Ben-Gvir said. “After all, she knows full well that it won’t harm her clients at all because the prosecution hasn’t even asked for a stiffer sentence. It’s completely out of control. A 14-year-old kid and his friend try to kill Jews, but the prosecutor’s office treats the case as if it were a simple case of shoplifting.
“With such light sentencing requests by the prosecution why is anyone surprised that more and more minors are joining the ranks of terrorists and trying to murder Jews?” said Ben-Gvir.