Shiloh settlement in West Bank 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Central District Court ruled on Thursday to quash the conviction of a man
who called two IDF soldiers in the West Bank “Nazis.”
The defendant, Oded
Efrati, was convicted in the Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court in 2007 of insulting a
public official. The conviction was made under a plea bargain after Efrati
admitted calling the two soldiers “Nazis,” and the court handed down a suspended
sentence of six months, 60 hours of community service and a fine of NIS 3,000 to
each of the soldiers.
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The state opposed Efrati’s appeal against his
conviction, saying that it was “not appropriate to send a message to the public
that it is ‘allowed’ to insult public officials by calling them Nazis without
having to face a criminal conviction.”
According to the amended
indictment, Efrati approached two IDF soldiers as they were carrying out their
regular duties near the Palestinian village of Salem. He told them that they
were “Nazis” and added that “They didn’t behave that way to Jews in the
Immediately afterward, Efrati asked the soldiers for their
details, and said “I’ll put you on a rocket” if they did not comply. He then
took the registration number of the soldiers’ military vehicle, despite being
asked not to do so.
In overturning the conviction against Efrati, Judges
Ruth Lorch, Tzvi Dotan and Ofer Grosskopf said that the lower court had failed
to take into account the totality of circumstances surrounding the case,
including that Efrati had expressed genuine remorse and had no prior
The court also accepted that the criminal conviction would
severely impact Efrati’s professional career.
“Even though this offense
concerns a blatantly ugly statement that must be condemned, its circumstances do
not indicate any worsening pattern of [behavior],” Lorch said, noting that the
probation service had recommended closing the case without
During the appeal, Efrati’s attorneys argued that this was a
one-off offense that did not indicate a consistent pattern of behavior, that he
had expressed genuine remorse, had not repeated the offense and that the
conviction would severely damage his professional future.
Efrati is the
co-owner of a technology firm, and his criminal conviction meant that he could
no longer work for one of his major clients, who require their contractors have
a clean record.