Right-wing extremist group head Gopstein acquitted of assault against left-wing radical

Judge rules Gopstein practiced self-defense after Ezra Nawi breached West Bank security fence to his Jewish community.

By
April 10, 2016 21:14
1 minute read.
Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein

Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein. (photo credit: ARIK SULTAN)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Ben-Zion on Sunday acquitted “Bentzi” Gopstein, the head of the extreme rightwing anti-assimilation organization Lehava, of assault charges at stemming from an incident in 2008.

Gopstein was accused of assaulting Ezra Nawi, an activist with the radical left-wing group Ta’ayush. Nawi infiltrated Gopstein’s Givat Avot neighborhood, located in Hebron.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Nawi, a prominent Israeli campaigner for Palestinian rights, made national headlines in January when he said he helps Palestinian authorities find and kill Palestinians who sell land to Jews.

He was also accused of publishing the names of Arabs who legally sell their land to Jewish buyers.

Nawi was subsequently arrested, and charged with contacting a foreign agent over the suspicion that he arranged for Palestinian land brokers who sold land to Jewish Israelis to be turned over to the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security Service.

He was released to house arrest two weeks later.

Nawi alleged that Gopstein attacked him after he and left-wing activists and local Arabs climbed a security fence separating the Givat Avot community from the surrounding Arab neighborhood.



After Gopstein learned of the security breach, which he said posed an imminent threat to the community’s Jewish residents, he confronted the intruders, whom he believed to be terrorists, to ensure they did not harm anyone.

After reviewing surveillance footage of the incident, the judge presiding over the case ruled that Gopstein acted in self-defense when he attempted to stop Nawi and the other the trespassers.

Judge Dov Pollock noted that Gopstein fully cooperated with authorities after the incident.

“Gopstein explained the context of the situation during questioning,” the judge ruled. “He explained that he saw a number of people trying to climb over the fence into the neighborhood where he resides,” adding that Gopstein “thought they were terrorists.”

JTA and Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

Related Content

Rami Feinstein
August 18, 2018
Music from the heart

By ARIEL DOMINIQUE HENDELMAN