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'We will beat them. If necessary, we will kill them'

Jewish suspects charged with attempted murder, terror in mob attack on Arab man

Netanel Binyamin, Lahav Ohanina and unnamed minor held for savage beating in Bat Yam; also accused of vandalizing Arab-owned restaurant the same day while shouting ‘Death to Arabs’

Saeed Mousa, an Arab Israeli who was assaulted by a Jewish Israeli mob, at Ichilov Medical Center, May 14, 2021 (video screenshot)
Saeed Mousa, an Arab Israeli who was assaulted by a Jewish Israeli mob, at Ichilov Medical Center, May 14, 2021 (video screenshot)

Three Jewish suspects were indicted on attempted murder and terror charges Monday for an attack on an Arab Israeli man whose savage beating by a mob in Bat Yam earlier this month was caught on live television.

Saeed Mousa was seriously injured in the May 12 attack, which came amid escalating ethnic tensions between Jews and Arabs inside Israeli cities alongside the armed conflict with Gaza terror groups.

Netanel Binyamin, 25, Lahav Ohanina, 18, and a 16-year-old minor whose name was not released were charged in Tel Aviv District Court with aggravated intentional assault, intentional sabotage of a vehicle and racially motivated theft, public disturbance causing racially motivated damage, incitement to terrorism and incitement to racism.

Binyamin was also charged with attempted murder.

Prosecutors said the three suspects took an active role in a WhatsApp group that called for people to come to the promenade in the central Israeli city of Bat Yam with the specific intent of harming Arab Israelis.

A man beats a man lying prone on the ground in Bat Yam, amid interethnic violence across Israel, May 12, 2021. (Kan TV Screenshot)

Coordinating via the messaging service, the indictment said, the three took part in an attack on an Arab-owned restaurant while shouting “Death to Arabs” before coming upon Mousa, who was in his car on his way to the beach after dark.

Mousa attempted to reverse away from the mob but hit a car behind him. He then accelerated forward, with people jumping out of the way, before crashing into another car.

He was then dragged out of the car by the mob, with some now claiming he had attempted to run over the pedestrians, and beaten badly.

Following the incident, which was filmed and broadcast on live television, Ohanina told the Kan public broadcaster: “We went out on the street today to fight  with Arabs so we can show them that they cannot send missiles here. We are no longer children. We will fuck them. We will beat them. If necessary, we will kill them and if necessary murder them.”

Mousa was taken to Ichilov in serious condition. His condition has improved since.

Police said Monday that roughly 150 indictments have been filed against some 230 defendants, some of them minors, since the riots began two weeks ago.

Charges have included assaulting police officers in aggravated circumstances, endangering human life on a public thoroughfare, participating in riots, throwing rocks, disorderly conduct in a public place, arson, and interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duties.

Border Police patrol the streets of the central city of Lod after last week’s riots. May 19, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Police were set to launch a widespread operation on Monday whose purpose was given as the arrest of rioters. But the Ynet news site said the aim was also to “settle the score” with criminal gangs operating in Arab communities. The operation was approved after a consultation between Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana and Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai.

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai (L) and Public Security Minister Minister Amir Ohana at the bonfire lighting celebrations for Lag B’Omer, hours before the tragedy, April 30, 2021 (Israel Police)

The report said the operation aimed to “restore deterrence,” that most of the suspects were Arabs and that there were already cases prepared against them.

Police said Monday that over the past 24 hours it had arrested 74 Israelis suspected of involvement in the recent rioting.

Channel 12 reported Sunday that only 10 percent of those arrested in connection with the unrest were Jewish, while the vast majority were Arabs. The network said police made 1,552 arrests, of whom 1,039 have since been released.

The rioting between the two communities has largely faded away, although simmering tensions remain in some areas.

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