Court: Bethlehem, Efrat men abused special needs Shufersal co-worker

The court’s preliminary findings appear to indicate that the bizarre and disturbing case in which Palestinians and Jews likely conspired together to torment their special-needs co-worker for fun

By
August 28, 2019 01:59
1 minute read.
'Shufersal' supermarket

'Shufersal' supermarket. (photo credit: REUTERS)

There is evidence that residents of Bethlehem, east Jerusalem and Efrat repeatedly abused a special-needs haredi (ultra-Orthodox) co-worker for entertainment, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court said on Tuesday.


The court wrote the comments to justify its decision to extend the detention of two of the suspects for an additional three days, but its findings are preliminary and do not bind the judge, who will hear the case at trial.
Still, the court’s preliminary findings appear to indicate that the bizarre and disturbing case in which Palestinians and Jews likely conspired together to torment their special-needs co-worker for fun (or at least conspired together to cover-up the abuse) is even worse than the one incident which broke into the news last week.


Already last week, a video was distributed on social media showing two of the suspects abusing and slapping the special-needs co-worker, whose arms were tied.


The video shows them demanding he repeat certain statements for their entertainment and them slapping him on the face with moderate force when he does not comply immediately or misunderstands what they want due to his mental disability.


The abuse on video did not rise to a point of seriously physically harming the victim, but the court appeared to accept police arguments that there were a large number of recordings of other abusive incidents by the alleged abusers on their cellphones.


While the case is being brought by the police and the state prosecution, lawyer and Knesset candidate Itamar Ben-Gvir is representing the abused victim and said that the case represented anti-Jewish actions, which should be dealt with more on the track of terror cases than low level crime.


He also said that one or more Jewish co-workers at the Shufersal were involved and that the police seemed to be taking too lenient an approach to them.


While one of the arrested suspects appeared to be Jewish, others Jewish co-workers who might have been involved or known of the repeat incidents, but who did nothing to stop their recurrence, were reportedly fired, but not arrested.


The story transformed from a disturbing media spectacle to a criminal probe on Sunday when the special-needs employee and his parents reported the situation to the police.


This led to the arrests and to Tuesday’s hearing to extend the detention of the suspects so they could be questioned further.


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