Two Israelis were sentenced to prison by the Israeli Magistrate’s Court in West Jerusalem for their involvement in a violent assault that left a Palestinian critically injured during a riot amid the Gaza conflict in May 2021.
Noam Elimelech was sentenced to 11 years in prison for multiple stabbings against the 22-year-old Palestinian victim across his body, in addition to punching and kicking as determined by the court’s verdict.
According to The Times of Israel, Naftali Elmakayes was also sentenced to prison for assaulting the victim, even after the victim had collapsed to the ground.
Moreover, the court has ordered that Elimelech and Elmakayes must each pay a compensation of NIS 100,000 ($26,000). This same fine has also been imposed on Yosef Ben Ami and Yosef Dahan, who have been found guilty of the assault, but are yet to receive their sentences.
The four Israelis participated in a rally led by far-right activists on 12 May, 2021, in the occupied Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, during which they attacked a Palestinian passerby, as indicated in the court’s decision. After reaching Mahane Yehuda, they identified another Palestinian victim who was working at a restaurant, until the group of Israeli criminals approached him and proceeded to assault him.
In his verdict, Israeli Judge Eli Abarbanel criticised the attackers’ nationalistic actions, stating that they were driven by a goal to
terrorise another population group and vent their anger over violent events that occurred at the time
“The defendants,” the judge continued, “violated basic human values,” acknowledging that the assailants not only caused severe physical harm, but also imposed significant psychological trauma. “This event has left an enduring impact,” he added.
During the riots, the ugly scenes shocked and alarmed many. “Pogrom” was trending on social media at the time, along with “apartheid” as Israeli lynch mobs dragged a Palestinian man out of his car and began beating him almost to death. Shops within Palestinian neighbourhoods were vandalised, and the mobs broke into homes, terrifying those inside.
Synagogues were also set ablaze during inter-communal violence that critics, at the time, said challenged the Zionists’ claims of peaceful coexistence with their “Arab” neighbours.
The riots, which were triggered by a series of Israeli provocations, including the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, followed by a 11-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip-which killed at least 254 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women – led to extensive damages to shops and properties across several towns.