Arab man receives shortened sentence for attacking Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Saleh Bakirat, 20, from Jerusalem, was sentenced to a maximum of 30 months in prison for attacking Jews, even though the prosecution sought at least 11 years in prison.

 HAREDIM ON a Mea Shearim street corner during Sukkot.  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
HAREDIM ON a Mea Shearim street corner during Sukkot.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

A 20-year-old Arab man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for an attack on a group of haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Jews – even though the prosecution was seeking an 11-14 years sentence for his crimes.

Saleh Bakirat, from Jerusalem, was convicted of racist threats and aggravated terrorist acts of sabotage on Monday and sentenced to a maximum of 30 months in prison.

According to the indictment, Bakirat was driving with two other assailants in Jerusalem on April 31, 2021, when he noticed a group of Ultra-Orthodox Jews on the other side of the sidewalk street. Bakirat then veered the car directly at them before stopping the car just before he struck the pedestrians.

Unsatisfied with his initial assault, Bakirat and his posse then grabbed large stones, turned around and started throwing them at the Ultra-Orthodox passersby. A stone struck one of the Jews and led to him breaking his arm. Bakirat’s group of attackers filmed the entire incident on their cell phones.

 HAREDI MEN with cell phones in Jerusalem.  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) HAREDI MEN with cell phones in Jerusalem. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Unshaken by the potential ramifications of his actions, Bakirat was driving with friends just a few days later before again attacking Orthodox Jews from their car – as he and his friends threw stones at the Jewish pedestrians. None of the victims were injured in this assault.

The attacks took place just weeks before Israel and Hamas’s latest series of conflicts in May 2021.

While the prosecution sought to try Bakirat for both crimes, the judge had mercy on him, as he was young and the Judge felt he “expressed remorse.” The judge also tried both crimes as a single count, as he felt the string of incidents was a “single criminal plan that involved harming Jews by throwing stones from a moving car."

The judge eventually ruled for a comparatively light sentence, explaining that, "given the young age of the defendant, and given that he is in the process of seeking and forming a personal and independent identity, in situations as described in the indictment, the defendant tends to behave impulsively violent and abusive."  

The judge further ruled that Bakirat must pay NIS 12,000 in compensation to the victim whose arm was broken.