(photo credit: COURTESY ISRAEL POLICE)
The Haifa District Court on Monday sentenced Shlomo Pinto, 33, to 11 years in prison for attempted murder, for stabbing a fellow Jewish man he mistook for an Arab in a revenge attack.
Pinto, from the northern town of of Kiryat Ata, was convicted in December 2016 for the attempted murder of Uriel Rizkin in October 2015. He was also given an 18-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay NIS 50,000 to Rizkin.
On the morning of October 13, 2015, Pinto left his home at 11 a.m. carrying a kitchen knife, a box-cutter and a hammer, and made his way to Zvulun Street in the center of the town “in order to find an Arab and kill him,” according to the indictment. Pinto entered a Kiryat Ata supermarket and, believing Rizkin, a clerk, was an Arab, approached him from behind and stabbed him four times.
In court on Monday, a panel of judges noted that Pinto “acted out of a sense of revenge and ideological motivation, and a desire to inspire people to act like him, when the only purpose is to hurt the victim of Arab origin and to kill him.”
Although Pinto confessed to the crime, questions as to his sanity were denied at his sentencing, when Judge Tamar Naot-Perry noted that Pinto’s claim of hearing voices arose only two weeks into the investigation.
The panel of judges stated that the severity of Pinto’s sentence is due to the premeditated nature of his crime, his nationalist motivations, and the harm done to the victim.
Soon after the attack, Rizkin spoke to the press from his hospital bed. He said that if Pinto had instead attacked one of his Arab co-workers, he would have come to the victim’s assistance.
“There’s no difference if he stabbed me or one of the Arabs I work with. If he would have stabbed one of the Arabs, I would have gone and hit him [Pinto].”
“It doesn’t matter who stabs who and why. People come to work, to work together; they don’t bring politics into it,” Rizkin said.
Meanwhile, an Arab Israeli woman from Kafr Kassem reached a plea deal with the Lod District Court on Monday by which she was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment after admitting to the attempted murder of a Jewish woman.
Shatila Abu Aida, 23, was convicted of stabbing a woman in Rosh Ha’ayin in early April 2015. The Jewish woman sustained a stabbing wound to her left hand. Abu Aida was also ordered to pay NIS 100,000 to her victim.
According to the indictment, the woman’s actions were inspired by the July 2014 kidnapping and murder of teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir and the July 2015 murder of Dawabsha family members in the Duma arson attack. The indictment also states that Abu Aida told investigators she had a dream in which she was inspired by the Prophet Muhammad to commit the attack.
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.
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