The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday sentenced Zvi Struck to 18 months in
prison for abducting and assaulting a 15-year-old Palestinian in July
Struck was convicted on two counts in November. In one he was found
guilty of beating the boy with the butt of his rifle after chasing him down with
his all-terrain vehicle in an open field near his home in the outpost of Esh
Kodesh, near Shilo. In the other, he was convicted of slapping and beating the
boy and of killing a baby goat from the flock the boy was tending.RELATED:IDF denies youth killed in Gaza
trial, Struck denied the charges, but Judge Amnon Cohen preferred the boy’s
testimony, which was backed by physical evidence at the scene, over
Following the conviction, Struck’s lawyers asked for a lenient
sentence, arguing that Struck was a law-abiding citizen with no prior
convictions, and a father of three young children who depended on him. Struck’s
lawyers also noted that Struck looked after his brother, who had been disabled
during his military service.
The defense also brought in character
witnesses to testify on Struck’s behalf.
The witnesses all testified to
Struck’s gentle nature and his history of mediating between law enforcement
agencies and local residents.
The prosecution stressed the severity of
the injuries suffered by the boy and the repetitious nature of the two offenses
in its arguments for an extended prison sentence.
The judge wrote in his
ruling that he was deeply shocked by the severity of the injuries. He also
stated that the testimony of the character witnesses failed to line up with the
facts of the case and that anything short of an active prison sentence would
defeat the desired effect of the punishment.
Struck was sentenced to 18
months in prison and a year on probation and ordered to pay the boy NIS 50,000
Struck’s lawyer requested that the start of the sentence
be postponed to give him time to appeal.
Struck’s mother, Orit Struck who
chairs the Judea and Samaria human rights organization, said the sentence
rewarded “the lies of the Arabs, who are fighting a nationalist battle against
the Jewish farmers in Judea and Samaria.”
“The judge preferred the
testimony of the prosecution witness, who is a currently standing trial for
throwing Molotov cocktails, over that of Zviki Struck, a farmer with no criminal
record, who all the character witnesses said was a gentle, responsible and
law-abiding citizen,” said Orit Struck.
“The judge chose to ignore the
fact that the complainant’s father is a police officer in the Palestinian
Authority and that he brought in the witnesses and served as interpreter in
their investigations. Judge Cohen turned a farmer, who is a father of three,
into a scapegoat in the nationalistic battle waged by the Arabs against the
farmers in Judea and Samaria.”
Yesh Din, which advocates for Palestinian
rights and assisted the boy in the case, said this is one of the rare instances
in which the law enforcement authorities were able to bring a case to
“According to Yesh Din data, 90 percent of complaints filed
by Palestinians against Israelis who harmed them or their property end with the
cases being closed due to investigation failures,” the group said in a