Father of murdered Arab teen: Suspect should be burned to death like my son was

Jerusalem District Court orders lead suspect in kidnapping and murder of east Jerusalem teen confined to police custody until end of trial.

Muhammad Abu Khdeir (photo credit: REUTERS)
Muhammad Abu Khdeir
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The father of murdered Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir said on Wednesday outside the Jerusalem District Court that the murderer should be burned alive just like he burned his son alive.
The Jerusalem District Court ordered that Yosef Haim Ben-David be confined to police custody until the end of his trial for the murder of Abu Khdeir, the 16-yearold Arab from Shuafat in east Jerusalem.
Abu Khdeir was abducted and brutally murdered on July 2 while waiting to enter a mosque in east Jerusalem. He was allegedly targeted because he was an Arab.
Following the court hearing, Abu Khdeir’s father, Hussain, asked why the state had not demolished the suspected murderers’ houses, as the state had recently done with those of Palestinian terrorists.
The Jerusalem district-attorney indicted Ben-David, along with two Jewish minors for nationalist-revenge murder.
On July 20, Ben-David, 29, from the settlement of Adam, was named as the leader of the murder suspects. The names of the minor defendants, a 16-year-old from Jerusalem and another from Beit Shemesh, remained under a gag order.
Ben-David’s name was made public after a final appeal to the Supreme Court failed.
Justice Elyakim Rubinstein rejected the argument that publicizing his name would place Ben-David’s family in danger – as the state said that neither the police nor the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) had found evidence of a credible threat.
In addition, he accepted state prosecutor Uri Korb’s argument that an alleged incident of the family being attacked with a Molotov cocktail was fictional and had no evidentiary basis.
Finally, Rubinstein rejected the argument that revealing Ben-David’s identity could expose the two minors’ identities.
He added that some amount of suffering for the co-defendants and their families may be unavoidable.
Following the indictment, the Defense Ministry recognized Abu Khdeir as a victim of hostile action, granting his family identical compensation rights as the victims of Arab terror, such as victims of suicide bombings – assuming its decision is also adopted by the National Insurance Institute.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein called the murder a “horrifying act,” and praised law enforcement for the swiftness with which they arrested the three defendants.
The three suspects were charged with murder and kidnapping as well as a slew of other crimes.
The indictment included charges against Ben-David and one of the minors for attempting to kidnap seven- and-a-half year-old Musa Zalum of Beit Hanina and striking him and his mother, with whom he was walking – while she was pushing another one of her children in a stroller.
Ben-David drove the car, while the minor got out to attack the seven-and-a-halfyear- old. They wore non-haredi clothes to try to mask their identities during their attempts to kidnap Arabs, the indictment said.
There were separate charges for multiple attempts by the same two to burn Arab cars in Sur Bahir.
In the case of Abu Khdeir, the indictment alleged that Ben-David drove the car, while both minors attacked and threw the victim into the car.
Abu Khdeir tried to call his uncle, attempted to escape and even kicked one of the defendants in the face before they overpowered him, according to the indictment.
The indictment said that the defendants partially-strangled and struck Abu Khdeir on the head multiple times, as Ben-David called out the names of murdered Jews, such as Shalhevet Pas, the Fogel family, Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel.
Next, Ben-David told the minors to burn his body to erase evidence, and that they doused him with gasoline and started to burn him while he was still alive.
Honenu, a right-wing group representing one of the suspects, said the oldest of the three suspects who had confessed to the murder of the Palestinian teenager may attempt to plead temporary insanity.
Ben-David and one of the minors are on psychiatric drugs for obsessive compulsive disorder, said the indictment.
Ben-David had been working at an optometrist in Jerusalem, while the two minors were either both studying in a yeshiva or about to return to studying in yeshiva.
Following an earlier partial lifting of a gag order on the case, the Shin Bet released a report saying the three suspects had admitted to kidnapping Abu Khdeir, beating him and burning him alive.
The report said the three defendants had confessed that the murder had been an act of revenge following the murder of the three teenagers in June.
Police found the teenager’s badly burned remains at 5:20 a.m., approximately one hour after he was reported kidnapped.
Subsequent news coverage of the slaying led to Arab riots throughout east Jerusalem and the rest of the country.