Will minor accused of killing Palestinian woman remain in detention?

Last month, it was revealed that the rock which killed Rabi contained the minor’s DNA, although his identity remains under gag order.

The arrest of a minor suspected of Jewish terror (photo credit: TPS)
The arrest of a minor suspected of Jewish terror
(photo credit: TPS)
The legal battle continued on Monday before the Lod District Court over whether the minor charged with manslaughter for killing a Palestinian woman on October 12 will remain detained throughout his trial.
Aysha Rabi, a mother of eight in her late 40s, was struck in the head with a rock as she was being driven in a car by her husband. The incident that occurred near the Tapuah junction is considered the most severe act of alleged Jewish terrorism since 2015.
The Central District Attorney’s Office filed the indictment in the Lod District Court last month following months of investigation.
On Monday, the minor’s lawyer Adi Keidar told the court that even though he wanted his client released on bail as soon as possible, a month-long postponement for the hearing was needed, because the prosecution still has not transferred much of the key evidence in the case.
The court granted the month-long postponement and ordered that a social worker should evaluate the minor and also the possibility of alternatives for him besides detention in police custody before the next hearing.
Last month, it was revealed that the rock which killed Rabi contained the minor’s DNA, although his identity remains under gag order.
Despite what appears to be strong evidence of the minor’s involvement in the killing, the manslaughter charge and delays in filing the indictment have indicated that the path to a conviction might be difficult.
Keidar implied last month that even the DNA evidence could be attacked in court.
A spokesman for Honenu has said that there was no other evidence connecting the minor to the incident, and that the DNA evidence was weak compared to standard DNA evidence, as it was found on a moving object – the rock – as opposed to on a stationary object, like a wall. This meant that the DNA could have come from a variety of sources while the rock may have been moved, he continued.
In addition, the spokesman said that the DNA was of a low resolution. In other words, while hi-resolution DNA evidence can flag a specific individual, in this case the evidence could point to several people.
Finally, he said that “fresh” DNA evidence is the best kind, meaning it was recently found on the object. In this case, it was not fresh.
From the start, there was testimony from the Palestinian side that Jewish rock throwers had been involved.
According to the indictment, on the evening of October 12, the minor and some friends from Yeshivat Pri Ha’aretz high school walked to the top of a hill a few meters from Route 60.
The minor held a 2-kg. rock, aiming to hit vehicles being driven by Arabs.
Rabi and her family were driving at a speed exceeding 100 km. per hour. As the car approached, the minor saw that the car was driven by Palestinians because of its license plate. He threw the rock towards the front of the car with intention to harm those in the vehicle. The rock hit Rabi in the head, and the blow was fatal.
Rabi’s husband maintained control of the car despite the attack, potentially saving his life and that of his young daughter, and drove to the nearest Palestinian hospital. Rabi’s killing set off a chain of retaliatory attacks by Palestinians.
The prosecution has requested that the minor be kept in custody until the end of the trial.
Four other minors were previously arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), but were released months ago.
Even with the filing of the indictment against the main suspect, the Justice Ministry has refused to comment on what charges the four minors might face. Speculation has increased that either they may not be charged, or may only face very minor charges.
The case has reanimated the debate over the Shin Bet’s aggressive handling of Jews accused of terrorism. Some have said they should be treated the same as Palestinian terrorists, while others have said that the agency violated the minors’ rights. As the investigation dragged on, Israel came under criticism that it does not probe suspicions of Jewish terrorism as seriously as Palestinian ones.