Hit-and-run victim Zeitouni's fiancé speaks out

Roy Peled says that the growing number of hit-and-run incidents is stain on society.

September 4, 2012 02:44
2 minute read.
Hit-and-run victim Lee Zeitouni

Hit-and-run victim Lee Zeitouni 311. (photo credit: Courtesy: Facebook)


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Roy Peled, whose fiancée Lee Zeituni was killed last September – after being hit by a car whose occupants left her dying on a Tel Aviv street – said Monday that the growing number of similar hit-and-run accidents reported recently is becoming a moral stain on Israeli society and if left unaddressed could become an accepted norm.

“Sadly, we are seeing this happen more and more, nearly every day,” said Peled, who plans to hold Wednesday, an emergency meeting of lawmakers, law enforcement officials and victims, together with the non-profit road safety organization Or Yarok in order to address this apparently growing phenomenon.

According to Peled, aside from the hundreds of road fatalities that happen each year in Israel, more than 700 incidents are considered hitand- run, in which the person responsible immediately drives away from the scene.

While the majority of victims are left injured, in the past year alone some 18 people were killed, he said.

“There is a law in Israel that demands someone stop and help another person if they have been hurt. Anyone can be in an accident but if you don’t stop and help those who are physically hurt, you are committing a crime, even if you do come back to the scene or turn yourself in only a few hours later,” said Peled, whose girlfriend was left dying by two men who immediately fled the country to their native France.

On Friday night, two young runners were hit and badly injured in a similar accident near Kibbutz Givat Brenner, and just last month three women pedestrians in Netanya were killed by a driver who fled the scene. In the second case, a massive police manhunt ensued and the vehicle’s alleged driver was later arrested.

“If we allow this kind of behavior to continue, if we do not work completely to stop this kind of crime, we will start to see a real breakdown in the core of Israeli values,” said Peled.

Peled – who gave up his regular job following Zeituni’s death, in order to dedicate time to seek justice in her case and to help victims of similar accidents – said the goal of Wednesday’s conference, to be held in Tel Aviv, was to “brainstorm ways to prevent further individuals from being killed or families torn apart by such actions.”

“We want to bring everyone together in the same room, those who have been hurt by these accidents and those who can make a change and improve prevention, to find a real solution,” he said.

Peled added that his basic hope was that the meeting would help pave the way for real change, at least in the sense of emphasizing the criminality in running away from the scene of a traffic accident The bereaved fiancé, who has been extremely visible and vocal in seeking justice for Zeituni, especially with the French authorities, said he was not willing to talk about the one-year anniversary of her death on September 16.

However, he said that Zeituni’s family had recently submitted a petition in the French court system to bring the two men – who are still free – to justice. In addition, French tax authorities last month launched an investigation into the financial status of the two men, Claude Isaac Hayat and Eric Rubic.

The two later admitted responsibility for the accident in an interview on Israeli TV.

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