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HaNevi'im Street attacker given light penalty

Please click here for a list of posts relating to cases in which Honenu provided legal counsel to victims of antisemitic attacks in Jerusalem.

Honenu Atty. Bleicher; Photo credit: Honenu

Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 15:37 On Tuesday, January 31, Jerusalem District Court Judge Miriam Lomp handed down a sentence of only eight years' imprisonment to a terrorist, Ali Ajalin, who attempted to stab two Jews on HaNevi'im Street near Sha'ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem District Attorney's office had requested a stiffer penalty. In her sentencing, Judge Lomp took into consideration the family background of the terrorist and the fact that it was "his first blunder," as she defined it. The terrorist also claimed that the remand was difficult for him. He did not express remorse for his acts, and he also changed his testimony regarding the attack. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the victims, sharply criticized the leniency of the penalty.

Approximately 18 months ago, Ali Ajalin, then a 22-year-old Anata resident, left his home with a kitchen knife with a 12 cm. blade and looked for a Jewish victim in the area of Sha'ar Shechem (Damascus Gate). He identified two Jews with a Hareidi appearance walking from Sha'ar Shechem toward Shivtei Yisrael Street. The terrorist followed them until they reached HaNevi'im Street, where he drew his knife and attempted to stab one of them in the back. The terrorist tripped and the knife fell from his hand, which enabled the victims to escape. The terrorist fled the scene and was apprehended a short time later by the police.

The decision sentencing the terrorist states that the victim suffers from the trauma and the fear of death that he experienced during the attack, which has stayed with him to this day, appreciably and significantly. At the hearing, a representative of the Jerusalem District Attorney's office requested that the court hand down a stiff sentence to the terrorist, partly because he bears complete responsibility for the act as a sole perpetrator. His motive was nationalistic-ideological. He planned the attack intending to be a shahid and equipped himself with a knife, thus the act had the potential for great damage. The attack ended without serious bodily damage only miraculously. Additionally, with his acts, the defendant intimidated and threatened the public.

However, in her decision, Judge Lomp ruled that the request by the Jerusalem District Attorney's office for a 10-14 year prison sentence exceeded the range of appropriate penalization under the circumstances. In her opinion, the appropriate penalty is between seven and ten years' imprisonment, and yet, she handed down a sentence of only eight years. The terrorist will also pay the first victim whom he tried to stab 25,000 NIS in compensation and the other victim 2,000 NIS in compensation.

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the victims, stated in response, "This terrorist attempted a stabbing attack, with all of its significance. The terrorist did not succeed in causing physical damage, but he did cause great damage to the victim, whose life has unrecognizably changed. The terrorist caused extremely severe damage to public security. From the start, it was a failure of the Jerusalem District Attorney's office that the terrorist was not charged with attempted murder. We warned them at the time. However, also according to the indictment, this is an extremely lenient penalty that severely damages the war on terror and gives a prize to terrorists."

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