Film director’s son, 17, succumbs to wounds after soccer player runs him over

Police say they plan on upping charges against Itzhak Asefa to murder over hit-and-run in Tel Aviv that took life of Ari Nesher

Director Avi Nesher (left), with his son, Ari and wife, Iris (Courtesy Rafi Delouya)
Director Avi Nesher (left), with his son, Ari and wife, Iris (Courtesy Rafi Delouya)

The 17-year-old boy who was seriously injured in a Tel Aviv hit-and-run succumbed to his injuries at the Ichilov Hospital on Thursday.

Ari Nesher and a friend were riding an electric bike on the city’s northern Rokach Boulevard early Monday morning when they were hit by Israeli Premier League soccer player Itzhak Asefa, who subsequently fled the scene.

Asefa was arrested shortly thereafter by police who said his blood alcohol level was found to be five times the legal limit.

Ari, the son of acclaimed Israeli film director Avi Nesher, was rushed to nearby Ichilov Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was treated for serious head injuries.

The second teen was taken to Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Hospital, where he is recovering from moderate injuries.

Two teens were left in a critical and moderate condition after a hit-and-run on Tel Aviv’s Rokach Boulevard in the early hours of September 24, 2018. (Israel Police)

Following the announcement of Nesher’s death, Hadashot news reported that police are planning at Asefa’s next remand extension hearing to raise the charges against him to murder, for which he could serve up to 20 years.

In a statement shortly after his death, Nesher’s family said their son had celebrated his 17th birthday surrounded by loved ones at the hospital.

“Our Ari was not just a handsome boy. He was a talented, curious, witty and happy child,” his family eulogized.

“He was a gifted young filmmaker and always tried to help anyone in need. Ari dreamed of being a paramedic in the army, and last year he volunteered every week with Magen David Adom.”

Ari Nesher (left) and his sister, Tom Nesher. Ari Nesher, 17, the son of director Avi Nesher, died September 27, 2018 after being struck in a hit-and-run accident several days earlier (Courtesy Roi Bar)

“From an early age, Ari evoked in everyone around him the desire to live and rejoice and take part in this wonderful thing called life,”

The family said it would be donating his organs to save the lives of others in need. He will be buried on Sunday, September 30, at the Moshav Udim cemetery.

Israeli Premier League soccer player Itzhak Asefa is brought to the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court under suspicion of involvement in a hit-and-run collision that killed a 17-year-old boy in Tel Aviv on September 24, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

According to a Wednesday Hadashot news report, Asefa and seven other friends had purchased three bottles of vodka and won an extra bottle at a club they visited the night of the accident.

It remained unclear whether Asefa himself drank from that alcohol before getting into his car and hitting Nesher.

While police said they deemed that he had alcohol in his system upon his arrest, it is possible that he had consumed it after fleeing the scene.

Chaim Tukachinsky (YouTube screenshot)

Authorities said they were still questioning Asefa’s friends and witnesses at the bar to confirm the soccer players’ conduct that evening.

Hours before the accident that killed Nesher, another deadly hit-and-run unfolded in Jerusalem that took the life of 31-year-old ultra-Orthodox pianist Chaim Tukachinsky.

The suspect, a Spanish journalist named Julio de la Guardia, drove away and was arrested around an hour later. He was found to have a blood alcohol content three times the legal amount. A Foreign Ministry official told Channel 10 that de la Guardia had been deported from Israel in 2011 after a domestic dispute but was later allowed to return.

The Tel Aviv crash took place close to where 13-year-old Eylon Shalev-Amsalem was killed by a suspected drunk driver in July. Eli Bar Zakai has been charged with charged with manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm, obstructing an investigation, tampering with evidence, drunk driving and speeding in connection with Shalev-Amsalem’s death on July 26-27.

Eylon Shalev-Amsalem, who was killed in a car accident on July 28, 2018. (Courtesy)

The Supreme Court last week permitted Bar Zakai to leave his home on Yom Kippur to pray at the closest synagogue, but rejected his appeal to release him completely from house arrest.

Just weeks after Shalev-Amsalem’s death, a disabled military veteran was killed when he was hit by a Hummer when crossing the street in the same area of northern Tel Aviv.

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