The Haifa District Attorney served an indictment on Thursday charging six people
with offenses relating to a vicious assault against two off-duty IDF soldiers in
the northern city last month.
The indictment charges Haifa residents
Marwan Attaleh, aged 25, Hafez Kais, 54, and four minors aged between 15 and 17
with harm with aggravating intent.
Although the hearing was in closed
court, Haifa District Court Judge Ron Shapira allowed reporters to be present at
the start of the proceedings and to take photographs, although he insisted that
any pictures of the minors be blurred to prevent their identification. A strict
gag order remains regarding all details that could identify the minors, as is
standard practice in criminal trials.
According to the indictment, the
violent attack was sparked after a group of unknown youths allegedly threw rocks
at the home of one of the minors, as he was having a party with the other three
At 1:49 a.m. on February 26, the four minors called
the police and reported that someone had thrown stones at the house, causing
some damage, the indictment says.
Immediately afterward, the four
allegedly also called Kais and Attaleh, and told them what had happened, and the
two older men came over to the house with a group of other people.
minutes later, the six defendants and others decided to go out and find the
young people who threw the stones, the indictment says. Allegedly, some
of the defendants armed themselves with iron rods, sticks and stones.
Hafez drove around the area with three of the other defendants and other men, he
came across off-duty soldiers Shnir Dahan and Roie Sharaff near the Rambam
Medical Center, the indictment says. Allegedly, the four defendants got out of
their car, some still armed with iron bars and stones, and began to shout and
swear in Arabic at Dahan and Sharaff.
The defendants pursued the two
victims as they tried to escape, but Attaleh and one of the minors caught
Sharaff, beat him in the head, threw him to the ground and then beat him all
over his body, punching and kicking him and hitting him with iron bars, sticks
Allegedly, two of the attackers then scratched Sharaff’s head
with a sharp tool, apparently trying to carve a word into the young man’s
According to the indictment, the other defendants caught Dahan,
and subjected him to a similar beating, again punching, kicking and hitting him
with iron bars, sticks, and stones. During the beating, one of the defendants
threw a large rock at Dahan, who told them he was an IDF soldier, the indictment
As a result of the beating, Sharaff was hospitalized for four days
with injuries including a fractured nose, mild concussion, a hematoma on his
head, and cuts and bruising all over his body.
Dahan was hospitalized for
three days with head injuries, a wrist and hand injury, hematoma to the head,
cuts and bruising to his body and other injuries.
After Shapira served
the indictments, he ordered the extension of the defendants’ remand, pending a
However, the judge said that from the evidence
presented so far to the court, he did not see any signs that the attack had any
nationalist or racial motive.
Although some of the evidence indicates
that the defendants had talked about finding “the Jews,” the judge said this
appeared to be “as a way of identifying those people whom they were looking to
harm, rather than as a nationalist feature.”
One of the defendants
testified that he had not been sure whether they had been looking for Jews or
Christians, the judge added.
“Allegedly, and without prejudice to the
severity of the violence described in the testimonies, the incident was not
nationalist but was a violent event [perpetrated] for other reasons,” Shapira
The judge also noted that the defendants’ lawyers had claimed the
indictment may have been motivated by media reports.
“To clarify, the
indictment is served by the state attorney’s office, which considers the
evidence, and not by the media,” the judge said. “The state attorney’s office
pleads before the court, and the court will make decisions based on the
evidence. Media reports are irrelevant to the matter in hand.”