(photo credit: Channel 2)
Tel Aviv's traffic court sentenced prominent lawyer Avigdor 'Dori' Klagsbald to one year and three months in jail, as well as suspending his driver's license for 10 years and ordering him to pay a fine of NIS 10,000.
The sentence came after Klagsbald was convicted last month of causing death through negligence in a traffic accident in Tel Aviv, which killed 23-year-old Yvegnia Vexler and her son, Arthur, 6.
Outside the courtroom on Thursday morning, Vitaly Vexler, Arthur's uncle, told Ynet that he felt justice had been done. "Today I believe that the State of Israel wants to fight against traffic accidents," he said.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post on Thursday afternoon, the family's lawyer, Zari Hazan said that the family felt that they had achieved a sense of justice after, what he called, "not a simple battle through the Israeli justice system."
"The court gave us back a belief in that system," he said.
Earlier in the day, Hazan spoke on Israel Army radio saying there could be no comparison between the suffering of the Vexler family and Klagsbald. Before being sentenced, Klagsbald told the court that it did not really matter what sentence he received, as, from his point of view, he had already been punished. Hazan said that Klagsbald had telephoned the family on Wednesday evening but had failed to offer them an outright apology for causing this tragedy.
According to Zelda Harris, spokeswoman for road safety organization Metuna, Victoria Vexler, Arthur's grandmother, could not face being in Israel at the time of the hearing. Harris said she was visiting her grieving son, Vladislav, who lives and works in the Ukraine.
Several road safety organizations demonstrated outside the court, as they believe that this high profile case is important in furthering their cause to improve road safety in Israel.
"We would like to see Klagsbald become active in the battle for road safety and we will be approaching him in the future," said Harris.
Though she was happy with the outcome of the court proceedings, Harris said: "The one thing the judge could have done, which would have reminded him [Klagsbald] everyday of his life of what he has done, would have been to take away his driving license forever."
She said that the jail time was also light considering that the well-known lawyer was likely to appeal and reduce his sentence from 15 months to 10.
Klagsbald left the courtroom immediately following the sentencing without speaking to reporters. His lawyer, Dan Scheinman told the media that the punishment did not fit the crime.
"This is a very harsh ruling, and we will file an appeal. He received a special punishment because he is a lawyer," said Scheinman. "In my opinion, his negligence was only temporary. He never denied responsibility, and for months he's been slandered by the media without reacting, which he believes was the proper response."