East Jerusalem resident Mohammed Asila reached a plea deal with the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office on Tuesday in which he will serve 10 months in prison for attacking four Haredi men with pepper spray while they were on their way to the Western Wall before Shabbat.
According to the plea agreement, Asila will admit to racially motivated assault and will receive ten months in prison.
Since the attack took place last December and Asila has been in police custody since then, he could be released in about three months for his role in the incident – his third such offense against Haredi Israelis.
Asila’s prior antisemitic attacks
Asila looked likely to face a harsher sentence, as this was not his first offense of this kind. In November 2021, Asila was convicted of assaulting a police officer with a deadly weapon – a transgression that earned him a ten-month prison sentence.
Asila was also convicted of assault in 2020 and convicted of rioting, multiple offenses involving the assault of a police officer and other charges in 2018. He received a ten-month prison sentence for his original convictions – a sentence he would earn twice more in the next five years.
Judge Arnon Eitan approved the plea deal and determined that Asila will receive a ten-month prison sentence, a NIS 500 fine and must compensate the ultra-orthodox victims with NIS 1,200 each.
A simple assault offense is punishable by up to two years in prison, while the addition of the racial motive makes it a hate crime and thus doubles the prison sentence and puts it at four years. Despite this, and despite Asila’s past, he was sentenced to only ten months in prison.