A far-right settler was sentenced to five months community service on Sunday for social media posts calling for violent action against Palestinians and Israeli soldiers.
Eliraz Fein, 25, was also given a 10-month suspended prison sentence and a NIS 2,000 ($575) fine for comments she made in an email forum where residents from the northern West Bank settlement of Yitzhar mulled the legality — under Jewish law — of attacking, and even killing, IDF soldiers “under certain circumstances.”
Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court Judge Eliana Danieli rejected the recommendation of the probation service to overturn Fein’s April conviction because she had expressed remorse.
In the discussion, which took place in the settlement’s closed email group, the settlers debated whether Jewish law permits violence against Jewish soldiers, with some saying that violence, even lethal force, was permitted when soldiers were engaged in certain actions.
Fein spoke out in favor of hurling rocks at Jews — “even if the rock causes the death of a soldier.” She said that while the legitimacy of throwing rocks at Arabs was “not a question,” in “certain situations” it was permissible to hurl them at Jews as well.
She vowed to “defend” rock-throwers from the settlement in public “against any outside body,” and to only criticize them in private if she thought their actions merited criticism.
In addition, following the murder in July 2014 of East Jerusalem teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir by Israeli extremists who kidnapped him and burned him alive, Fein wrote on Facebook, “I am proud and happy to discover that there are Jews who couldn’t stand by and be silent! I send a blessing of strength and courage to those arrested (whom I don’t know at all) who are suspected of murdering the Arab of the Abu Khdeir family.”
Explaining her Sunday decision, Judge Danieli wrote that Fein’s posts “against IDF soldiers and innocent Arabs are offensive and outrageous and exacerbate the flames of conflict between us and our neighbors.”
Danieli noted that had it not been for a plea bargain reached with the prosecution, in which Fein expressed remorse, she would have been sentenced to several months in prison.
“The incitement to violence and the racist aspect of the publications even harm the foundations of democracy as well as the already sensitive fabric of life here in Israel,” the judge added.
Fein bashed the Sunday ruling in a statement of her own, calling the sentencing “completely out of proportion.”
“When the Arabs incite against Jews and against the security forces, they are not even arrested. The prosecution invested an absurd amount in order to convict me in this case,” Fein said.
“I love soldiers and I always loved soldiers,” she added, noting that she frequently served food to soldiers stationed at her settlement.
Fein’s attorney Gil Eshet struck a different tone in his responses, telling The Times of Israel that he respected the court’s decision and would study it before deciding whether an appeal was necessary.
“She was not personally involved in any act of violence and no act of violence was ever attributed to her,” Eshet pointed out.