An online fundraising appeal for a Jewish Israeli terrorist convicted of killing three members of a Palestinian family has raised over half a million shekels for his appeal in less than a day.
Amiram Ben Uliel was sentenced by the Lod District Court Monday to three life terms plus 20 years for a 2015 firebomb attack on the Dawabsha family home in the West Bank village of Duma. Saad and Riham Dawabsha, and their 18-month-old son Ali died in the attack. Only the couple’s eldest son, Ahmed, survived, with burns; he was 5 years old at the time.
Ben-Uliel’s lawyers have said they will appeal his conviction to the Supreme Court.
An online fundraiser set up by the Honenu legal defense group, which typically represents alleged Jewish extremists, had raised NIS 539,889 ($157,874) from over 1,700 donors as of Tuesday afternoon.
Among those to back the fundraiser was Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who retweeted a link to the fundraiser on Monday.
An explanatory note on the fundraising page describes Ben-Uliel’s life as a “nightmare” since his arrest nearly five years ago, and claims he only confessed to the crime after being tortured.
Ben Uliel confessed to the attack on several occasions during his interrogation by the Shin Bet security agency. Some of those confessions, however, were thrown out by the court in 2018 after judges determined they had been given either during or immediately after he had undergone “enhanced interrogation,” or torture.
Support for Ben-Uliel also came from around two dozen rabbis who signed an open letter Monday calling for his acquittal. The list included several well-known figures on the far-right flank of religious Zionism, including Bet El Chief Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, and Rabbi Zvi Tau.
“Nobody disputes that Amiram’s confession, the only piece of evidence against him, was extracted from him through the use of torture… That is enough to justify his release,” the letter said.
MK Yair Golan of the left-wing opposition Meretz party responded to the letter Tuesday tweeting that the rabbis who signed the letter should be fired from public service and banned from any educational institute.
“It is important to remember that these rabbis and their supporters — all are Bennett supporters,” he added, referring to Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Yamina party that draws its voter base from among the settler and national-religious community and that recent polls have shown would likely be the second-largest party in the Knesset if elections were held.
A teenage accomplice of Ben Uliel will be sentenced on Wednesday.