Demand to reopen Jerusalem Day assault case
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Sunday, January 29, 2023, 19:28 Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher wrote a letter to the Jerusalem District Attorney's office demanding the reopening of the case of an assault on a Jewish youth in the Old City of Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day in 2022. The youth was carrying an Israeli flag when several Arabs tried to grab it from him. The youth filed a complaint with the police over the incident, but they closed the case.
The incident; Video credit: Israel Police
Bleicher described the incident in his letter: "On 27.5.2022, the eve of Jerusalem Day, the appellant was assaulted on HaGai Street near Sha'ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) in the Old City of Jerusalem. The appellant was walking toward the Western Wall pulling a suitcase with one hand and carrying an Israeli flag in the other. A group of approximately five Arabs walked ten meters behind the appellant. Soon after he passed Sha'ar Shechem, as he was on HaGai Street, the group quickly closed the gap between them, until they were directly behind him. Then one of them yanked the flag down and tried to grab it from him."
Bleicher added, "The startled appellant jumped back, and his suitcase fell to the ground as he tried to hold on to the flag and defend himself from the assailant. The assailant grabbed the flag with his right hand and with his left, shoved the appellant's arm and attempted to prevent [the appellant] from defending himself. In the end, the appellant succeeded in pushing away the assailant, who continued on his way with his friends and left the distressed and humiliated appellant behind.
"This was an instance of serious, racially motivated deliberate simple assault and an attack on the State flag, the symbol of the State's sovereignty. The entire incident was recorded by Mabat 2000 security cameras. The appellant filed a complaint with the police over the assault. Two suspects were detained, interrogated by the police, and brought before the court for a hearing on their remand extension. The suspects' attorney agreed to their being banned from the Old City of Jerusalem and being held in remand. To the appellant's surprise, he received an update from the crime victim notification system that the case had been closed on the grounds of "closed – not to be brought to trial."
Bleicher noted that the video clip of the incident proves that the Jewish youth did not provoke the assault and that it was racially motivated. "The factual reality shown by the videos documenting the incident is as follows: The appellant was walking down the street, not interacting with the [Arabs] and keeping a distance from them. The assailant and his friends were the ones who approached [the appellant] and made contact with him specifically and intentionally. The moment the assailant came up behind the appellant, he assaulted him twice. He grabbed the flag and [tried to] pull it from his hand, which is defined by law as assault – 'one who hits, touches, shoves, or uses force on an individual by other means' – and afterward he shoved the appellant's arm."
In conclusion, Bleicher demanded that the Jerusalem District Attorney's office order the case to be reopened: "Before us is a nationalistically-racially motivated deliberate attack intended to damage the national flag, the symbol of the State's sovereignty. This is not a case that should be closed without a trial. The extreme importance of prosecuting this case is due to HaGai Street being the location of many and repeated terror attacks on Jews. The Arabs have a general practice [of harassment] in order to drive Jews out of the public area."