Zion Square beating suspect in J'lem District Court 370.
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Two Jewish teenagers and one adult who took part in a racist lynch mob that
nearly took the life of an Israeli-Arab teen last August in downtown’s Zion
Square were sentenced to prison terms Monday by the Jerusalem District
According to the indictment issued against the sole adult involved
in the attack, on the evening of August 16, about 60 Jewish youths sitting in
central Jerusalem’s Cat Square began harassing Arab teens in the area, shouting
“Muhammad is dead” and “Death to Arabs.” Shortly before midnight, some 30
members of the group walked toward Zion Square with the intent of “beating up
Arabs,” according to the indictment.
A few minutes later, the group began
pummeling four young Arabs walking on Jaffa Street.
While three of the
victims were able to flee, 17- year-old Jamal Julani tripped as he was running
away and was immediately surrounded by the mob.
The group then proceeded
to savagely beat Julani with kicks and punches – even after he fell unconscious
– while a number of passersby did nothing to intervene, the indictment
The assault, compounded by the victim’s preexisting heart
condition, left Julani without a pulse. Paramedics who arrived on the scene used
CPR and defibrillators for over 10 minutes to resuscitate him.
fell into a coma and was subsequently rushed to Hadassah University Medical
Center, where he was released after convalescing for several days. Over a
four-day period, a total of eight teenagers, between the ages of 13 and 19, were
arrested for taking part in the beating, including three females.
Monday Judge Jacob Zaban sentenced three unidentified defendants to eight month,
three month, and one-month prison terms.
Meanwhile, one of the remaining
five defendants is in the midst of a trial, while four others signed plea
bargains with the prosecution.
During the sentencing, Zaban said the
defendants were part of “a group of youths that were motivated by hatred and
carried out a lynch,” according to Channel 10.
Indeed, the incident drew
international headlines last summer and was uniformly condemned by leaders
across Israel’s political spectrum.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and
President Shimon Peres described the attack as “shameful” and “intolerable,”
while then Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin visited Julani in the hospital to
apologize on behalf of the State of Israel.
“It is hard to see you lying
in the hospital because of an unimaginable, outrageous act,” Rivlin said to
Julani at the time. “I came here in the name of the State of Israel, in order to
apologize and express anger over what happened.”
The victim’s mother,
Nariman Julani, who has six other children, stayed by her son’s side throughout
“I really pity them,” she said of her son’s
assailants at the time.
“And I pity their mothers. Who could be proud of
a child who does a thing like this? “As they grow up, they will probably be more
ashamed and regret what they did,” she continued.
“They’ll go to jail,
and it is their futures which will be ruined, not my son’s. Instead of learning,
they’ll be in prison.”
Shortly after the attack, Rivlin called on schools
to discuss the incident with students.
“We have reached the point where
we are not educating our children that all of us – Jews and Arabs – live
together,” he said.
“Events like this could happen again. We are in an
environment in which conflict creates the impression that violence is allowed,
as opposed to argument and use of democratic tools.”
Rivlin added that
Likud ideological forebear Ze’ev Jabotinsky would have been appalled that some
of the attackers wore shirts with the symbol of Betar, the youth movement he
“I came here today to say the writing has been on the wall for a
long time, and the letters are on fire and can burn us all,” Rivlin said. “We,
the government, the Knesset, schools and everyone who regards himself as a
leader, are responsible for this.”Jerusalem Post staff contributed to