An Arab Israeli man was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for his role in the mob assault of a Jewish resident of Acre during the May 2021 riots that left the victim, Mor Ganashvili, with life-threatening and permanent injuries.
Haifa District Court also ordered Adham Bashir, 24, to pay NIS 150,000 (approximately $43,000) in damages to Ganashvili.
Bashir, also a resident of the coastal city, confessed to the crime and was convicted in a plea bargain on charges of aggravated assault as an act of terror, attempted aggravated assault, and rioting.
He was found to have thrown a rock at Ganashvili’s car, smashed its window with a club, and participated as the mob beat the victim after he exited the vehicle and tried to flee the scene.
“The accused held a club and intended to cause serious injury to [Ganashvili] out of an ideological nationalist motive,” the presiding judge said, noting the sentence was lighter than it might have been because the defendant had confessed and showed regret.
Prosecutors had sought a prison term of 10-13 years.
Ganashvili, who was attacked while driving a car with Israeli flags, thanked prosecutors and judges for the stiff sentence.
“Every judge in Israel needs to learn by example and start to rule justly. We aren’t living in the Diaspora here,” he said referring to the dispersal of the Jewish people outside of Israel.
“Jews walking around with an Israeli flag should be murdered,” he said. “True, I wasn’t murdered, but they killed a part of my soul.”
Ganashvili told reporters he wept tears of joy at the sentence.
In September, the Shin Bet security service said it had indicted three more suspects in the case.
The arrests brought to eight the total number of suspects arrested or prosecuted in the assault on Ganashvili, who was beaten with iron bars and other blunt instruments that rendered him unconscious and left him with two brain hemorrhages and internal bleeding, among numerous other injuries.
The riots in Acre were part of a series of violent inter-communal disturbances, particularly in Israel’s mixed Jewish-Arab cities, that took place in the days following the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on May 10, 2021.
According to court documents, the suspects were among masked rioters roaming the streets of Acre on the night of May 12, throwing stones and launching fireworks at police officers and destroying public property.
They set up a roadblock using furniture and other objects, which Ganashvili encountered while driving to visit his mother, whom he was worried about due to the ongoing riots.
The rioters pelted Ganashvili’s car, which had Israeli flags on it, with stones and other objects, causing him to lose control and crash into a wall.
Ganashvili was rescued by another Arab resident of Acre, Fadi Qassem, a nurse who gave him first aid treatment and helped save his life before security forces and emergency medical services took him to the hospital.