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Ashraf Keisi, an Israeli Arab, was sentenced Thursday by the Tel Aviv District Court to five life sentences plus 20 years for driving the suicide bomber who killed five Israelis and wounded 50 others at the Stage nightclub in Tel Aviv in February 2005.
The judges wrote in their ruling that "The defendant, a citizen and resident of Israel, joined with the most bitter of our enemies in order to carry out as many murders as possible."
The judges went on to say that Keisi never expressed regret "for taking an active and integral role in the despicable plots of those who seek to destroy us."
According to the indictment, Keisi advised the attackers against choosing Netanya, allegedly claiming that due to the city's chilly climate people preferred to congregate indoors - and relatively out of reach. Keisi refused to help the bomber carry out the attack in Hadera, his hometown, recommending instead Tel Aviv's beachfront promenade because it "would be more crowded there."
Keisi was arrested a day after the attack, admitting in his interrogation that he had driven the bomber. Keisi also admitted to having been in contact with Abu Sa'ada, an Islamic Jihad activist from Tulkarm, and other armed insurgents.
Keisi said that his dire economic situation at the time was his primary motivation for agreeing to drive the bomber.
Those killed in the attack were Yael Orbach, 28, of Rehovot, who was set to get married three weeks later, Yitzhak Buzaglo, 40, from Moshav Hayarden, and Aryeh Nagar, 37, from Kfar Saba, and Ronen Reuvenov, 30, from Tel Aviv and Odelia Hubara, 26, from Jerusalem.