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Man hospitalized after road rage assault on Tel Aviv highway sees condition improve

Driver moved out of neurosurgery intensive care, expected to be released in coming days; motorcyclist assailant, who hit him in head with helmet, has prior hit-and-run conviction

General view of Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv on November 10, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
General view of Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv on November 10, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The condition improved Wednesday of a driver who was hospitalized with head injuries after a motorcyclist beat him over the head with his helmet on a Tel Aviv highway earlier this week.

The 50-year-old driver is now listed in good condition, and was released from neurosurgery intensive care at the city’s Ichilov Hospital where he is being treated. He is expected to be released from the hospital in the coming days.

The suspected attacker, Arik Greenfeld, 37, who was seen on video Monday evening hitting the driver with his helmet during an altercation in the middle of rush hour traffic, claimed that he acted in self-defense and that the other driver attacked him first, punched him, and broke his teeth, Channel 13 reported.

His remand has been extended till Friday.

Police are waiting for an opportunity to interview the hospitalized driver. A family member told Channel 13 Tuesday she had visited the man and spoken with him but that he doesn’t remember anything.

Hagit Rahmani Weiss of the public defender’s office, who is representing Greenfeld, said in a statement that her client is cooperating with investigators and maintains his version that he acted in self-defense. Nonetheless, he expressed regret at the incident and was very upset when he heard of the other driver’s condition.

A man lies on the Ayalon Highway after he was attacked by a motorcyclist, November 7, 2022 (Screen grab used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The improvement in the driver’s condition came as details emerged of Greenfeld’s past conviction in a hit-and-run accident that the family of the victim in that case claim led to his death a year and a half later.

He also has a separate past conviction of hitting someone on the head with a motorcycle helmet according to Hebrew media reports.

Channel 12 reported that in the past hit-and-run incident Greenfeld ran over a man causing him head injuries. The victim’s daughter told the station that the family was in “an emotional storm” after seeing Greenfeld’s name published in connection with this week’s attack.

“Simply seeing his name today takes me back,” said the daughter, who was not identified in the report. The station also did not say when the hit-and-run happened.

The daughter said that her father was on a road crossing when “that same one, that scum of a man, sped into the junction, didn’t stop at the crossing, hit him, hurled him into a wall at the side, fled and left him” dying.

The daughter, who was 19 at the time, said that her father, 58, suffered head injuries and spent time in a nursing home before he died a year and a half later.

“And the person [Greenfeld] went on, set up a family, had children,” she said.

Greenfeld was charged with neglecting an injured person, obstructing the course of an investigation, driving without a license, driving without insurance, and driving a vehicle that did not have a road-worthiness test, Channel 12 reported. However, he did not receive a prison sentence.

According to the daughter, the judge at the time noted Greenfeld’s young age and ruled in favor of giving him a chance at rehabilitation.

“As you can see, this is what rehabilitation looks like,” she said.

Channel 12 reported that over a decade ago Greenfeld was convicted in another incident in which he hit a fellow courier rider in the head with a crash helmet. Though police demanded prison time, the court sentenced him to three months of community service.

The Monday clash between Greenfeld and the driver was filmed by a woman whose office overlooked the scene.

In the video, which does not capture the start of the confrontation, the driver has his hand on the motorcyclist as the two walk.

The motorcyclist initially hit the man twice with his helmet. With the third blow, in which he threw the helmet at the man, the victim fell to the ground.

Bystanders stepped in to help the victim. The attacker also appeared to be trying to attend to him.

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