Beersheba judge's car set on fire

Police opened an investigation into the incident, which is the second time a judge has been targeted this year; motivation for crime unclear.

Judge's car set on fire in Beersheba (photo credit: TIMI REGEV/SHEVA)
Judge's car set on fire in Beersheba
(photo credit: TIMI REGEV/SHEVA)
In the latest assault on a member of the justice system, unknown assailants torched the car of a Beersheba District Court judge late Tuesday night, while it was parked outside of his house in the town of Omer.
The judge, Nasser Abu Taha, has had a security detail the past few days, as a result of a family feud and fears that he could be in danger.
On Wednesday, hours after the incident, Abu Taha left for work, vowing not to be intimidated, saying that he will continue with his daily life.
CCTV cameras at Abu Taha’s house reportedly caught three masked men approaching the car and setting it alight before fleeing on foot.
The investigation has been tasked to the Southern District’s serious crimes investigations branch due to the sensitivity of the case.
Southern District Police Commander Yoram Helevy said Wednesday that police view it as an incident of great severity, and will respond in kind.
“This incident from my point of view is bigger than the southern district,” he said, adding that it was of national importance and that police “will pour all of the resources and means at our disposal in order to solve it.”
Speaking at the special meeting held by district commanders Wednesday, he said that because Abu Taha handled a number of cases involving very serious crimes, they can’t rule out that the arson may have been connected to his work and not the family dispute.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Asher Grunis said Wednesday that court officials are considering going on strike for one hour on Thursday to protest the attack on Abu Taha.
“Our message is that we are not deterred from carrying on as usual, in full solidarity with Judge Abu Tahah.”
Last November a bomb blew up a car belonging to a Tel Aviv prosecutor while it was parked a couple blocks from the Tel Aviv courthouse.
The prosecutor was not in the vehicle at the time and no one was injured, but the incident was viewed by law enforcement officials as the crossing of another red line by Israeli criminals.
Two weeks after that incident, in Jaffa, a car belonging to an Islamic Court judge was torched.