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Penalty hearing in Shimon HaTzadik vehicular arson case

Updated: Feb 13


Tal Yoshvaev; Photo credit: Honenu

Monday, February 7, 2022, 16:41 On Monday, February 7, at the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, a penalty hearing was held for two Arab youths suspected of torching a car belonging to Shimon HaTzadik resident Tal Yoshvaev, a married father of two children, during the summer of 2021. This instance of vehicular arson was the fourth out of nine times that Yoshvaev's car has been torched since Operation Guardian of the Walls (May 2021). The Attorney General's office requested that the court sentence the 17-year-old youth to one year's imprisonment, the 13-year-old youth to community service and obligate both of them to pay compensation.

Since Operation Guardian of the Walls, the Yoshvaev family has suffered 17 acts of terror including the above-mentioned nine vehicular arson attacks, two Molotov cocktails thrown at their house, an array of fireworks launched at their yard, and many bottles of paint thrown at their car. For more details, see here and here .

Yoshvaev and his wife came to the hearing accompanied by Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher. During the hearing, Yoshvaev submitted a victim's affidavit to the judge describing the emotional and practical effects of what his family has endured, and asked the court to be stringent with the defendants:

"The police knocked on my door and informed me that my car was going up in flames. My breath stopped and I was very startled. I saw that my car was ablaze, with my personal belongings, things important to me, letters from my wife that were important to us. Everything was completely burnt.

"I've been caused a great deal of anguish, upset, and monetary loss. I lost an entire day of work because I didn't have a car, and for a long time after that I was busy buying a new car. I had to travel by public transportation, taxis, or borrow a car from friends. It was a prolonged nightmare.

"I am constantly on guard so that they won't set either my house or my car on fire. We think twice before leaving the house. I ask the court to convict the defendants and to hand down a penalty that will deter [future acts of terror], especially since they have been injuring us and damaging our property for a long time. And especially since they are supported socially by the residents of the neighborhood, who see them as a symbol, and support them on the street and in the social media."

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher: "We are disappointed that the case went to court without the defendants being charged with either an act of terror or a nationalistic act, which would increase the possibility of stiff penalization. We are of the opinion that the level of penalization that the Attorney General's office requested is the minimum under the circumstances of the crime. We hope that the court will be stringent with the defendants and hand down a penalty of no less than one year's imprisonment. Unfortunately, Tal's car and house continue to be targets for terrorist arson attacks. There is an urgent need for terrorists to be indicted for serious charges and then substantially penalized. We will make every effort to stand guard against the Attorney General's office so that the suspects who were apprehended now for other arson incidents will be charged with acts of terror and serve lengthy prison sentences. Additionally, we intend to sue for damages all suspects who are convicted of acts of terror."

Click here for a report of a violent Arab demonstration in the Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood on May 6; for a video clip of the demonstration, click here. For a list of posts relating to Arab rioting in Israel at the time of Operation Guardian of the Walls, click here, and for a list of posts relating to cases in which Honenu provided legal counsel to victims of antisemitic attacks in Jerusalem, click here.


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