A man from Bat Yam was convicted Wednesday for his role in brutally assaulting an Arab motorist driving through the coastal city during inter-communal violence that erupted over two years ago.
Netanel Binyamin, 27, is one of several people to be found guilty of the May 2021 attack on Saeed Mousa, who was pulled from his car by a mob that proceeded to beat him, leaving him seriously injured.
Prosecutors accused Binyamin of being one of the dozens of rioters who attacked Mousa, striking him 10 times on the head and kicking him in the neck as he lay on the ground.
He briefly left the scene after passersby defended Mousa, then returned to kick him in the face and threw a bottle at his head with the intention of killing him, according to the charge sheet. Binyamin and additional rioters also vandalized the victim’s car.
Binyamin was also charged with encouraging attacks on Arab-owned businesses in Bat Yam, a suburb of Tel Aviv, and, along with others, of smashing store windows and ransacking a restaurant before attacking Mousa, who was on his way to the beach at the time.
The judges found Binyamin guilty of all the charges: a terrorist act of attempted murder, intentionally damaging a car, theft and rioting that resulted in damage. For the latter three charges, he was determined to have acted with a racist motive.
At Wednesday’s hearing, the top judge on the panel hearing the case called the 2021 assault an act of “violent hate” in which Mousa was targeted solely because of his identity as an Arab, and dismissed claims the attackers mistakenly believed he was a terrorist.
“It was clear [to witnesses] that before their eyes a violent act was being carried out by a mob that wanted to beat the defendant, to the point killing him,” Judge Gilia Ravid of the Tel Aviv District Court wrote in the ruling.
The court will decide on sentencing at a later date.
The unprovoked beating of Mousa, which shocked the public after being captured on live television, occurred while Israel was at war with the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip. The 11-day war ignited an unprecedented wave of internecine Jewish-Arab violence in cities around the country.