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Honenu: Attack was attempted murder, not aggravated assault

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Sha’ar Shechem; Photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90

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

Thursday, December 30, 2021, 16:39 On Thursday, December 30, a terrorist who attempted to stab two hareidi yeshiva students at Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) 11 days previously was indicted for aggravated assault in an act of terror. The crime carries a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment. Honenu is of the opinion that the terrorist should be charged with racially motivated attempted murder and sent a letter to the office of the Attorney General regarding the matter even before the indictment was filed. The letter, summarized below, opens with a description of the December 19 attack:

At about 18:10, N. and D. were walking together in the area of Sha’ar Shechem. Suddenly an Arab terrorist with a knife in his hand approached them from behind. The terrorist attempted to stab D. in his upper back, but the knife, which hit his back hard, did not penetrate and fell to the ground. In his attempts to escape from the terrorist, D. was forced to step down from the sidewalk and run into a busy street, with moving traffic.

Despite his failed first attempt, the terrorist did not stop and immediately tried again. He raised his knife and attempted to also stab N. in the back. The knife hit hard, but did not penetrate. N. started to escape while shouting “Terrorist!” When the terrorist heard the shouts, he threw the knife aside and fled the scene.

The matter is hand is a terrorist who left his home, armed with a knife, intending to carry out a lethal attack with a cold weapon. He attempted at two consecutive opportunities to turn this intent into reality, by aiming at a sensitive area of both of his victims’ bodies (the back). If the knife had penetrated, the attack could have easily ended in death. Thus he indicated his murderous intent and his strong desire to realize his goal.

One must not be lenient in this case only because the terrorist did not know exactly how to coordinate the motion of his hand with the structure of the knife he was holding. If he had chosen a slashing motion instead of a stabbing motion, he would have realized his plan and succeeded in killing. Therefore the prosecution should have attributed the appropriate crime to his intent, which he attempted to realize: racially motivated attempted murder.

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