Sherry Kestenbaum, a 23- year-old New Jersey resident who was brutally beaten
more than two weeks ago while staying at Kibbutz Almog as part of her Birthright
trip, submitted testimony in the case against her attacker at the Jerusalem
District Court on Wednesday before flying back to the United States, a Judea and
Samaria police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post.
On May 31, Kestenbaum
was attacked in the early hours of the morning, allegedly by fellow Birthright
participant Jonathan Haft, a 25-year-old resident of Wayne, New Jersey, after
Kestenbaum rebuffed his advances.
According to reports, Haft unleashed an
assault on the young woman that knocked out a number of her teeth, broke her jaw
in three places (and other facial bones) and left her with contusions on her
lung that led to pneumonia.
After an Israeli guest at the kibbutz exited
his room during the commotion and pulled Haft off Kestenbaum, Haft fled the
scene, but was later apprehended by police and arrested.
until Wednesday being treated at Hadassah University Medical Center in
Jerusalem's Ein Kerem, where she underwent surgery on her jaw and received
medical treatment for a slew of other injuries.
Once she returns to the
US, Kestenbaum will also have to undergo reconstructive facial surgery and
receive dental implants throughout the later stages of her
Haft, in custody since the ordeal, is to appear in court on
charges of assault with a deadly weapon, as he is a martial arts expert. He was
present in court on Wednesday but did not speak, and Kestenbaum refused to look
at him throughout her testimony.
The spokesman from Judea and Samaria
police, which oversaw the investigation into the attack, told the Post on
Wednesday that Kestenbaum had appeared in court, where she offered her version
of the events leading up to and during the attack, and detailed the extent of
“It’s something called ‘early testimony,’ as [Kestenbaum]
was now well enough to return to the US and would not be here during the
the court proceedings,” the spokesman said.
“She gave her testimony,
which was recorded by the court, and then was given permission to leave
country,” he added.
“Otherwise, the court proceedings are continuing as
The spokesman added that Kestenbaum was cross-examined by
Haft’s lawyer during the proceedings, although it remained unclear on
evening when Haft himself would first appear in court. Kestenbaum was
to fly back to the US on Wednesday night, the spokesman said.Gil Hoffman
contributed to this report.