Six Israelis, including two Israeli soldiers and one minor, have been charged over their involvement in committing “racist” attacks against Palestinians in recent months, according to an Israeli police spokesperson.
Luba Al-Samri said in a written statement that the case was approved for publication after a gag order was lifted by Israeli police and Israel’s security agency Shin Bet.
She said that “six Jewish suspects” from the city of Beersheba in Israel’s southern Negev region were detained in April over five separate “violent attacks and assaults” that have occurred since December 2016, including a “terrorist stabbing” attack on 21 February.
“Equipment” used by the suspects – which included knives, sticks, and iron rods – was seized by the police, according to Al-Samri who described the attacks as “racist and nationalistically motivated” aiming to “prevent Jews and Arabs in Beersheba from coexisting”.
The suspects were allegedly “inspired” by watching videos produced by the extremist right-wing Lehava organization – “especially one video about saving a Jewish woman from her Arab husband,” Al-Samri said. One of the suspects explicitly expressed his support for Lehava and his intentions of joining the group.
Following investigations, charges were filed against the six suspects in an Israeli magistrate’s court for “committing nationalist crimes driven by terrorism and anti-Arab sentiment,” Al-Samri concluded.
Israeli news outlet the Jerusalem Post identified three “central” defendants who were indicted in the Beersheba magistrate’s court as Raz Amitzur, who committed the stabbing attack, Koren Elyakim, and Tamir Bartal. Sharon Dizanshuvili, Reuven Kosshvili, and a minor whose name was not revealed were also indicted and were described in the report as “less central” defendants.
In addition to the stabbing attack, multiple defendants were charged with torching the car of an Arab-Israeli and attacking another Palestinian citizen on 4 March at Beersheba’s Park Six, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The suspects also sought out Palestinian citizens of Israel and attempted “to ensure that they were indeed of Arab ethnicity,” according to the report.
This is a rare case in which Israeli attackers have been charged with crimes against Arabs.