Two teens, one adult sentenced in unprovoked lynching of Israeli Arab

Judge says of attack that left 17-year-old Jamal Julani seriously wounded: Youths were motivated by hatred and carried out a lynch.

July 8, 2013 17:19
3 minute read.
Suspect being led into court. [File]

Zion Square beating suspect in J'lem District Court 370. (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)


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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 Court.

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 said.

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.

Julani 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.

On 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 his hospitalization.

“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 founded.

“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 this report.

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