A Jewish Israeli man who was filmed threatening an Arab Israeli driver and his family with a machete during a highway altercation last month was released Wednesday to house arrest after three weeks in custody.
Uri Shchori, 71, a resident of the northern city of Karmiel, was arrested after the incident, during which he blocked the other vehicle with his own, and then rushed at it waving a large blade.
He used the machete to try to force his way into the other car — which was driven by a man, with his wife and young child as passengers — while the driver filmed the attack and called police.
“Given his older age and his legal history, the alternative to arrest should be adopted,” Judge Jenny Tannous ruled at the Acre Magistrate’s Court.
“This is indeed bullying on the road, but I decided to adopt the recommendation of the probation service,” the judge said.
Shchori — whose release to house arrest was opposed by police — was ordered to remain at home under the supervision of his wife and two sons.
Shchori is accused of attempting to cause serious damage, making threats, deliberate vandalism of a vehicle and carrying a weapon.
The road rage incident apparently developed after the family’s car overtook Shchori’s, according to the Kan public broadcaster, which first broadcast the video clip.
Shchori used his vehicle to block the other car and force it to pull over. He then got out and charged at the other driver, waving the weapon.
Throughout the incident, the driver’s terrified wife, speaking in Arabic, could be heard in the background as she sat beside him. The couple’s young son was in the back seat.
At one point, after Shchori walked away, the threatened driver opened his car door to shout that he had called the police.
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Shchori was seen running back toward him, but as he tried to close the door, Shchori appeared to wedge the machete blade between the door and frame, leaving several inches of blade poking into the vehicle. He eventually pulled it free and left.
The threatened driver said he feared for his family’s safety and considered running over the attacker, “but acted with restraint,” Kan reported.
Shchori has claimed that he thought he was confronting a terrorist. He told reporters last month that the other vehicle was driving “insanely” and “I feared for myself, I thought it was a terror attack.”
Recalling the situation, he said the other car, which was traveling in front of his own, suddenly braked twice, nearly causing a collision.
“I really thought it was a terror attack. I really thought it was someone who wanted to do something,” he said.