IDF Sgt. Tuvia Yanai Weissman (R), his wife, and baby.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
A Palestinian youth who knifed to death an off duty IDF soldier at a supermarket in the West Bank almost three years ago was sentenced to 35 years in prison by the Judea Military Court on Sunday.
The assailant, whose name is under a gag order since he was a minor when he killed Sgt. Tuvia Yanai Weissman at the Rami Levy supermarket in Sha'ar Binyamin industrial zone on February 18, 2016, was also ordered to pay NIS 1.25 million to Weissman’s family, as well as NIS 250,000 to another person who was wounded in the attack.
The youth was convicted of intentional killing, the military equivalent of murder. The court refrained from imposing a life sentence due to the fact that he is a minor when he committed his knifing spree.
Weissman, 21, had been shopping with his family when two 14 year-old Palestinian terrorists from the West Bank village of Beitunya entered the supermarket and stabbed him and another 36 year-old Israeli.
Weissman succumbed to his wounds at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
The victim’s father, Avraham Weissman, said that the family was “disappointed” by the court’s decision, and that the terrorist deserved a life sentence for his crime.
“This terrorist not only stabbed the victim, he also initiated the attack, which is very serious,” he said in a statement. “I think he doesn’t deserve any less than what my son received, which was [a punishment that lasts] forever. A more stringent punishment would have contributed to deterrence.”
The right-wing Honenu legal aid group which represented the family also criticized the sentence, saying that the sentence strengthened terrorism.
“Today, a minor, one of the murderers of Yanai Weissman, was sentenced. The murderer received 35 years, and he has not received a life sentence, which for us is a very serious matter. The minor was convicted of murder, as part of a terror campaign. On the witness stand he said that he is a Hamas fighter. It is inconceivable that such a terrorist would not receive life imprisonment, even if he is a minor,” said attorney Haim Bleicher.
“Failure to give a life sentence to such a terrorist is an encouragement to terrorism. The family asked the Military Advocate General to appeal the verdict, demanding that he be sentenced to life imprisonment as he deserves,” he added.
In September, Weissman’s widow wrote to the court urging them to impose the death penalty on the two terrorists.
“Yanai was the first to get to the scene and fought with the terrorists, and pushed one away from his victim, thereby saving his life. During the fight, Yanai was stabbed and suffered serious injuries. At that point, I was shielding Netta with my body during what was happening in a back aisle,” Yael Weissman wrote, referencing her daughter who was four months old at the time.
“I began looking for Yanai and I ran between the aisles of the supermarket, and what I saw and experienced I will never be able to forget. The amount of blood that was there, the screams of pain… I am sure that Netta will be proud of her father when she grows up. I want Netta to grow up and know that there is no place in our country for the wretched and those who choose evil.
“Yanai sacrificed his life, and both Netta and I sacrifice our lives every day, every hour, every minute, as we continue to live without him. I call on the court, the honorable judge, to give the maximum punishment – the death penalty, which the wretched murderers deserve.”
Since October 2015, Palestinians have stabbed, run over and shot Israeli soldiers and civilians, including some tourists, in a wave of violence in the West Bank and Israel.
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