7 teens arrested over filmed gang beating, including alleged victim

Investigation finds assault in Petah Tikva apparently came in response to earlier incident, also filmed, in which air pistol was used to threaten kneeling teenager

Screen capture from video of a gang of youths attacking a teenager in a Petah Tikva park, September 2023. (X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video of a gang of youths attacking a teenager in a Petah Tikva park, September 2023. (X. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Seven teenagers have been arrested over a pair of videos circulated on social media that depicted violent confrontations between two gangs of youths in the central city of Petah Tikva.

The arrests came after the first video showed a single teen receiving a beating from a gang of other youths as they repeatedly hit him in the face, force him to the ground, and taunt him in a public park.

However, the beaten teen is suspected of involvement in another, related filmed incident in which a teenager is seen aiming an air pistol at the head of a youth kneeling on the ground in front of him. In that video, the person holding the gun strikes the kneeling boy on the head, causing him to fall backward.

The clips led cops to open an investigation and make the arrests. The city’s Magistrate Court on Tuesday extended the remand of five of the suspects by two days. All of the suspects are between the ages of 15 to 17. Among those arrested is the teen who was beaten in the first video.

Attorney Buria Frid, representing the beaten 15-year-old, said in a statement that her client should not be under arrest.

“Both of his eye sockets are broken, [he has] a broken nose and bruises all over his body,” she said. “The police suspect that he is connected to the video of the gun, but he has nothing to do with that case. The police should not have arrested him.”

The mother of one of those suspected of beating the teenager in the park told media at the Petah Tikva court that her son regrets what happened. She described the incident as “snowballing” out of control.

“The feelings aren’t easy, just like every mother” involved in the incident, she said.

She said the violence had been brewing for a while and “this isn’t something that just suddenly occurred.”

According to the mother, none of the parents of those involved had any idea of what was going on and the news of the events “was a complete surprise.”

Attorney Avi Cohen of the public defender’s office, who is representing one of the suspected park attackers, claimed that the assault happened due to attempted extortion by the supposed victim and his own gang against his client.

“They told him they know where his grandmother lives and demanded money,” he alleged, adding that there was also an attempt to extort money from other family members.

Police say that no complaint has been filed with them about any of the incidents. It was not clear when the videos were made. According to the Israel Hayom outlet, the park beating happened on Friday.

Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai said in a statement that as soon as the videos were circulated online he ordered a rapid investigation be carried out to arrest those involved.

“We as the police are obliged to bring the suspects, who used unbridled brutal and disgusting violence to justice, and to demand heavy punishment,” he said.

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