Beinisch shoe-thrower indicted in J'lem court

Supreme Court president lightly hurt in attack.

Beinisch (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Pinchas Cohen was indicted in theJerusalem District Court on Thursday morning, on suspicion of attacking Supreme CourtPresident Dorit Beinisch the previous day.

The 52-year-old Jerusalem resident apparently threw two of his sneakers at the chief justice as shepresided over a court hearing, striking her in the face with the first shoe andknocking her off her chair as the second whizzed past.

Cohen was arrested directly after the incident.

Beinisch, who returned to work about an hour-and-a-half later, was shaken upand slightly bruised in the incident, which broke her glasses and sparked chaosin the courtroom and outer foyer of the High Court building, which is locatedin the capital's government quarter.
Cohen entered the courtroom around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, asked a bystander ifthe woman sitting on the bench was in fact "the president" and thenhurled his shoes in her direction after receiving a positive response.
"You're corrupt! You've ruined our lives!" Cohen reportedly yelledduring the attack.
Security guards then lunged at Cohen, detained him immediately, and pulled him outof the courtroom, which was subsequently cleared. Supreme Court Judges ElyakimRubinstein and Uzi Vogelman, who were also present during the attack, weretaken into their chambers after the incident as well. Cohen was placed underarrest by police officers moments later.
According to police, Cohen has a record for past threats, including those madeagainst his lawyer Ariel Rozenblatt and Family Court Judge Phillip Marcusduring a 2006 court case, for which he was arrested.
While a police spokesman on Wednesday announced that Cohen had admitted tocarrying out the attack as revenge for a previous court ruling, it was unclearif that ruling was connected to the 2006 court case.
Wednesday's attack occurred as the court was discussing a petition filed by theTikun Olam organization, which had asked the court to extend an interim orderpreventing the Health Ministry from canceling the organization's license tooperate a greenhouse for medicinal marijuana in the . That case, however, wasbelieved to be unrelated to the attack.
Regarding the incident, Supreme Court Spokeswoman Ayelet Pilo told TheJerusalem Post on Wednesday that she was positive the court's securityapparatus would "review and learn from the incident, and learn thenecessary lessons."
"As far as changes in their protocol however," Pilo said of thecourthouse guards, "It's far too early to say what kinds of changes, ifany, might be made."
Pilo agreed that it was impossible to have every person who entered thebuilding take off their shoes, but added that she was certain the building'ssecurity guards would be vigilant in attempting to prevent such outbursts fromhappening again.
"The guards responded immediately, and the man was arrested and taken intocustody," Pilo said of the security guards' response.
On Wednesday afternoon, the director of the country's courthouses, Moshe Gael,held a press conference inside the Supreme Court building, during which he toldreporters that, "we're seeing a society in Israel in which all of the boundarieshave been broken, all the red lines crossed."
"That said," Gael continued, "This was an especially severeincident, which takes that sentiment even higher."
Gael also refused to elaborate on any potential changes the incident mightspell for security protocol inside the Supreme Court or elsewhere, although hedid remark that, "it's always good to update and renew the [existingsecurity] directives. There has already been an initial investigation into theincident, and the security apparatus will continue to review it."
Nonetheless, Pilo announced later on Wednesday that Beinisch had called anemergency meeting of all the heads of the country's courts for Thursday, inlight of Wednesday's attack.
Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was in Poland tocommemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, telephoned Beinisch to express hissupport for her after the attack.

“I’m mortified,” Netanyahu told Beinisch.

“Attacks must not be carried out against the court, andhurting the Supreme Court president is unthinkable. I support you and theentire legal system,” the prime minister said.

Justice Minister Ya'akov Ne'eman also criticized the attackon Wednesday.

“This grave incident must not be tolerated," Ne'emansaid in a statement. “The attack hurts not only the Supreme Court President,but the justice system as a whole. A justice system is a major part of ademocratic regime in any civilized state."

MK Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) also issued a statement after theincident, saying that the writing had been on the wall months before theattack.

“[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu's thundering silence inthe wake of wild attacks by his ministers against the Supreme Court in the pastyear, was shattered today in an ugly way,” the statement read.

“It was shameful violence, the motives for which were knownto all."