Bedouin Israeli sentenced to 14 years for planning Temple Mount attack

Walid Abu Madiam was caught in Jerusalem’s Old City in November 2020 with a knife and a screwdriver and convicted of attempting to stab a police officer or IDF soldier

Border Police officers stand guard next to the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, July 27, 2017. (AP /Mahmoud Illean)
Border Police officers stand guard next to the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, July 27, 2017. (AP /Mahmoud Illean)

An Israeli man from the southern Bedouin city of Rahat was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Wednesday for planning a terror attack against security forces at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount holy site in November 2020.

Walid Abu Madiam, now 23, arrived in Jerusalem on November 6, 2020, armed with a utility knife and a screwdriver. Prosecutors said he planned to murder a police officer or a soldier by stabbing them in the neck, and was driven by nationalistic motives.

Beersheba District Court Judge Daniel Ben Tolila told the court that Abu Madiam’s sentence took into account the fact that he was an Israeli citizen.

According to Haaretz, Ben Tolila wrote in his ruling that Abu Madiam’s citizenship means that “he has a duty of loyalty to the state,” and therefore his intention to commit terror was even more severe.

Abu Madiam had told his wife the plan before heading to Jerusalem and asked her not to tell anyone, according to the indictment. She tried to dissuade him, but he warned that he would divorce her if she revealed the plan to anyone.

He called a friend and asked him to give him a ride to Jerusalem to pray. On the way, Abu Madiam’s behavior prompted the friend to ask whether he was planning an attack, and he confessed.

Aerial view of Rahat, a Bedouin city in the Negev Desert. (Emil Aladjem/Israel Antiquities Authority)

According to the indictment, the friend immediately stopped the car and told him to rethink his plan. Abu Madiam then claimed he had been joking and was in fact going to attack a man who had disrespected his wife. That persuaded the friend to continue.

Abu Madiam got off at Damascus Gate around 1 a.m., the indictment says, and tried to make his way to Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. His behavior raised the suspicion of police forces near the Lion’s Gate, and he was arrested and taken for questioning by police and the Shin Bet security agency.

He reportedly stated that he was motivated to attack due to the fact that “Israel abuses those who come to the Temple Mount and soldiers beat Arabs for no reason.”

He was indicted several weeks later and convicted in January 2022 of attempted murder with terrorist intent.

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