Supreme Court partially accepts appeal


Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar; Photo credit: Honenu


Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 17:25 On Wednesday, October 28, the Supreme Court partially accepted the appeal by Yehoshua Elitzur, who was convicted of manslaughter by the Tel Aviv District Court and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment, and reduced the sentence to 11 years. Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar represented Elitzur, who also appealed also the verdict, but following the advice of the justices during the deliberations decided to appeal only the severity of the penalty. Elitzur, a righteous convert, was residing in Itamar at the time of the 2004 incident in which he shot and killed an Arab who had bypassed an army checkpoint between Elon Moreh and Itamar. His claim of self defense was rejected by the Tel Aviv District Court. In their ruling the justices noted that “in our opinion, the first court did not sufficiently take into consideration reasons for leniency relevant to the matter. In their justification for the ruling, the court did mention the childlessness of the appellant and the circumstances of his personal life. However the characteristics of the incident in which the deceased was shot, despite their severity, present justification for an additional leniency in penalizing the appellant.” The justices added that “in weighing the relative importance of all of the above, we reason that there is justification in the case for intervening with regards to the penalty handed down by the investigating court, and to reduce it in a manner which reflects the entirety of the complex circumstances of the case before us. Therefore we reached the conclusion that the penalty imposed on the appellant should be more lenient, and should stand at 11 years of active prison service (instead of 15 years).” Elitzur, a righteous convert in his 50s, emigrated from Germany, finished his conversion process in Israel and made his home in the hills of Itamar. During his trial he left Israel and was detained approximately five years ago. Currently, Elitzur is being held in the Rimonim Prison, in a wing designated for Torah-observant prisoners. All throughout the trial Elitzur claimed that he had opened fire in self-defense after an Arab driver of a Transit van that bypassed an army checkpoint did not stop when Elitzur signaled him, but rather drove at high speed in his direction. Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar represented Elitzur: “The Supreme Court ruling unusually leveled criticism at the [Tel Aviv] District Court and intervened concerning its ruling. [The justices’] examination of the evidence and their attention to the particular status of the appellant at the time of the shooting, which did not receive proper consideration by the [Tel Aviv] District Court, is of great importance. We are pleased with the results. However we expected a more significant leniency, which apparently was not possible due to the appellant having fled Israel.” Honenu: “We are pleased with the reduction in Yehoshua Elitzur’s sentence, but the verdict is still inappropriate. Yehoshua should have received a medal for his act of self defense. As he was on his way to work, during a time of frequent terror attacks, he signaled to the Arab driver who had bypassed an IDF checkpoint to stop. The driver accelerated in his direction and Elitzur was forced to protect his life by firing one shot. “In recent years, we have assisted many soldiers, policemen and civilians who defended their lives, then subsequently encountered legal complications. The law enforcement authorities and the judges remain in their air-conditioned chambers and do not experience what the people who guard them, and all of us, experience. We call on the Israeli authorities to allow Jews to defend themselves from the enemy without fear of negative consequences.”

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