Supreme Court increases sentence of brothers who set fire to Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem

"The Court should be lauded for its decision that reflects the understanding of the magnitude of the threat that price tag attackers present to Israeli society," MK Shmuli says.

January 31, 2016 11:33
1 minute read.
Jerusalem school

A worker carries a burnt board in a classroom yesterday in the integrated Arab-Jewish Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)


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Israel's Supreme Court granted the state's appeal on Sunday morning and increased the sentence of two brothers who carried out an arson attack on a bilingual Jewish Arab school in Jerusalem.

The arson attack on Jerusalem’s integrated Max Rayne Hand in Hand School took place in November 2014.

In July of 2015 the Jerusalem District Court sentenced Nahman and Shlomo Twito, aged 18 and 22, to  two and two and a half years respectively for setting fire to the school in southern Jerusalem. 

On Sunday the Supreme Court increased Nahman's prison sentence to 32 months and Shlomo's sentence to 38 months.

The Chairman of the Knesset caucus against Price Tag attacks, MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union), praised the Supreme Court decision on Sunday.

"The Court should be lauded for its decision that reflects the understanding of the magnitude of the threat that price tag attackers present to Israeli society. The time has come to take off the gloves when dealing with Jewish terror and the disciples of Gopstein," he said. 

Shmuli was referring to Bentzi Gopstein, the leader of the racist Jewish extremist group Lehava, that staunchly advocates the anti-Arab ideology of the late Jewish Defense League founder Meir Kahane, who was assassinated in New York City in 1990 after his radical Kach Party was outlawed in Israel for inciting racism. The Twito brothers are associated with the group. 

After setting a preschool classroom alight, the brothers, from the West Bank settlement of Betar Illit, also spray-painted Hebrew graffiti on the school’s interior walls stating “Kahane was right,” “You can’t coexist with a cancer,” “Enough with assimilation” and “Death to Arabs.” 

Funded by an NGO promoting Jewish and Arab coexistence, the Max Rayne Hand in Hand School serves more than 600 Arab and Jewish pupils from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade throughout Jerusalem, and is overseen by Jewish and Arab co-principals.

Daniel K. Eisenbud contributed to this report.

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