Hit-and-run victim Lee Zeitouni 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy: Facebook)
Two Frenchmen who fled to France after killing Israeli woman Lee Zeitouni in a
hitand- run in Tel Aviv have admitted being guilty of her death, but refuse to
go on trial in Israel, their lawyers said at a press conference in Paris on
The two men, Claude Isaac Hayat and Eric Rubic, hit and
instantly killed 25-year-old Pilates instructor Zeitouni as she crossed the
street on September 16.
According to Joseph Cohen- Sabban, attorney for
Hayat, 32, and Françoise Cotta, attorney for Rubic, 38, the pair fear they would
suffer from an “anti-French sentiment” in Israel were they to go on trial
Cohen-Sabban said that Israelis had complained about French people
pushing up the price of apartments in Tel Aviv and that there were diplomatic
tensions between Paris and Jerusalem over the Middle East peace process that
could influence the case.
Hayat had received death threats by telephone
from the boyfriend of the victim, and had gone into hiding, Cohen- Sabban
The two men “are well aware of the seriousness of the facts” and
are at the disposal of the French courts to “answer for their actions,” said
Cotta and Cohen-Sabban said their clients would face the
same penalty in France – 10 years in prison – as in Israel, where, the two men,
they claimed, would be in physical danger. Israeli legal sources said earlier
this month that the two could face up to 20 years in prison if tried in
Last week, France’s first lady Carla Bruni sent a letter to
Zeitouni’s mother, Kate, in which she promised that justice would be served in
“I want to inform you that Israel’s request to investigate this
matter has been received.
A prosecutor has been appointed and a judge has
taken charge of the investigation.
The French legal system is doing its
best without delay and at the same time is in constant contact with the Israeli
authorities,” Bruni wrote in response to response to correspondence sent by the