Pinchas Cohen was indicted in the
Jerusalem District Court on Thursday morning, on suspicion of attacking Supreme Court
President Dorit Beinisch the previous day.
Jerusalem resident apparently threw two of his sneakers at the chief justice as she
presided over a court hearing, striking her in the face with the first shoe and
knocking her off her chair as the second whizzed past.
Cohen was arrested directly after the incident.
Beinisch, who returned to work about an hour-and-a-half later, was shaken up
and slightly bruised in the incident, which broke her glasses and sparked chaos
in the courtroom and outer foyer of the High Court building, which is located
in the capital's government quarter.
Cohen entered the courtroom around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, asked a bystander if
the woman sitting on the bench was in fact "the president" and then
hurled his shoes in her direction after receiving a positive response.
"You're corrupt! You've ruined our lives!" Cohen reportedly yelled
during the attack.
Security guards then lunged at Cohen, detained him immediately, and pulled him out
of the courtroom, which was subsequently cleared. Supreme Court Judges Elyakim
Rubinstein and Uzi Vogelman, who were also present during the attack, were
taken into their chambers after the incident as well. Cohen was placed under
arrest by police officers moments later.
According to police, Cohen has a record for past threats, including those made
against his lawyer Ariel Rozenblatt and Family Court Judge Phillip Marcus
during a 2006 court case, for which he was arrested.
While a police spokesman on Wednesday announced that Cohen had admitted to
carrying out the attack as revenge for a previous court ruling, it was unclear
if that ruling was connected to the 2006 court case.
Wednesday's attack occurred as the court was discussing a petition filed by the
Tikun Olam organization, which had asked the court to extend an interim order
preventing the Health Ministry from canceling the organization's license to
operate a greenhouse for medicinal marijuana in the . That case, however, was
believed to be unrelated to the attack.
Regarding the incident, Supreme Court Spokeswoman Ayelet Pilo told The
on Wednesday that she was positive the court's security
apparatus would "review and learn from the incident, and learn the
"As far as changes in their protocol however," Pilo said of the
courthouse guards, "It's far too early to say what kinds of changes, if
any, might be made."
Pilo agreed that it was impossible to have every person who entered the
building take off their shoes, but added that she was certain the building's
security guards would be vigilant in attempting to prevent such outbursts from
"The guards responded immediately, and the man was arrested and taken into
custody," Pilo said of the security guards' response.
On Wednesday afternoon, the director of the country's courthouses, Moshe Gael,
held a press conference inside the Supreme Court building, during which he told
reporters that, "we're seeing a society in Israel in which all of the boundaries
have been broken, all the red lines crossed."
"That said," Gael continued, "This was an especially severe
incident, which takes that sentiment even higher."
Gael also refused to elaborate on any potential changes the incident might
spell for security protocol inside the Supreme Court or elsewhere, although he
did remark that, "it's always good to update and renew the [existing
security] directives. There has already been an initial investigation into the
incident, and the security apparatus will continue to review it."
Nonetheless, Pilo announced later on Wednesday that Beinisch had called an
emergency meeting of all the heads of the country's courts for Thursday, in
light of Wednesday's attack.
Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was in Poland to
commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, telephoned Beinisch to express his
support for her after the attack.
“I’m mortified,” Netanyahu told Beinisch.
“Attacks must not be carried out against the court, and
hurting the Supreme Court president is unthinkable. I support you and the
entire legal system,” the prime minister said.
Justice Minister Ya'akov Ne'eman also criticized the attack
“This grave incident must not be tolerated," Ne'eman
said in a statement. “The attack hurts not only the Supreme Court President,
but the justice system as a whole. A justice system is a major part of a
democratic regime in any civilized state."
MK Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) also issued a statement after the
incident, saying that the writing had been on the wall months before the
“[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu's thundering silence in
the wake of wild attacks by his ministers against the Supreme Court in the past
year, was shattered today in an ugly way,” the statement read.
“It was shameful violence, the motives for which were known