State seeks plea bargain with allegedly insane would-be killer

Risha is accused of stabbing Lebel on Israel Remembrance Day next to the G Mall in Kfar Saba.

Scene of stabbing attack in Kfar Saba, April 28, 2020 (photo credit: UNITED HATZALAH‏)
Scene of stabbing attack in Kfar Saba, April 28, 2020
(photo credit: UNITED HATZALAH‏)
The Lod District Court on Sunday approved a joint request by the state prosecution and a Palestinian who allegedly attempted to murder a Kfar Saba woman in April 2020, to begin mediation to reach a plea bargain.
It appears that the background to the joint request is an understanding that the Palestinian, Muhammad Risha of Tulkarm, is mentally unstable, and that the crime he may be convicted of and his sentence may differ significantly from what he might have expected had he been defined as of sound mind.
Representing the 62-year-old victim, Batya Lebel, who Risha is accused of repeatedly stabbing, Honenu legal aid lawyers, who specialize in defending Israelis in violent encounters involving Arabs, told the court that they opposed mediation and any lenient treatment for Risha.
 Honenu said that Risha should be held fully culpable for the crime of attempted murder, though they acknowledged that they did not have legal standing to block a potential plea bargain between the prosecution and the defense.
The court ordered that mediation be concluded by March 10 at which time the parties should inform the court if they have reached a deal.
In addition, the court scheduled the calling of witnesses for a trial to start on March 21 if the parties do not reach a deal.
Risha is accused of stabbing Lebel on Israel Remembrance Day next to the G Mall in Kfar Saba, just minutes before the national ceremony at Mount Herzl in memory of those who have fallen to terrorist attacks was to take place.
According to the indictment, Lebel was waiting at a bus stop when her attacker came up behind her, then stabbed her repeatedly.
Fortunately, a man stopped his vehicle, grabbed his weapon and shot the terrorist. “This man saved me. I remember that I managed to ask him ‘What’s your name?’ and he told me that it didn’t matter. I remember that I fell on the street and I was completely covered in blood from my head and from my upper torso,” Lebel told Channel 12 earlier.
Lebel told Channel 12 that her attacker “had a look of murder in his eyes. Even after I ran he didn’t get scared. He ran after me with the knife and I shouted to people so that someone would stop him.”
Separately on Sunday, the Lod District Court moved closer to a trial against Halil Dvikat who is accused of murdering Rabbi Shai Ohayon in Petah Tikvah in August 2020.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.