Confronting suspects, parents of slain soldier urge killers be put to death

Confronting suspects, parents of slain soldier urge killers be put to death

Family members of Ron Kokia call suspects Khaled Abu Jaudah and Zahi Abu Jaudah dogs and pigs in court as indictments filed

Hundreds attend the funeral of 19-year old Israeli soldier Ron Kokia in the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery on December 3, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Hundreds attend the funeral of 19-year old Israeli soldier Ron Kokia in the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery on December 3, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The parents of slain IDF soldier Ron Kokia called for the death penalty for their son’s suspected killers, identified in an indictment Sunday as two Bedouin Israeli half-brothers.

Family members of Kokia confronted suspects Khaled Abu Jaudah and Zahi Abu Jaudah at Beersheba District Court as indictments were filed, calling them “dogs” and “pigs” and yelling at them to show their faces, which had been covered with jackets.

“The punishment has to be comprehensive: the death penalty, which is what I think murderers deserve, or a very long sentence,” Boaz Kokia, Ron’s father, insisted at Beersheba District Court where the indictments were filed.

He also said he would “make sure” the main suspect, Khaled Abu Jaudah, met his end.

The Shin Bet said Khaled Abu Jaudah, 22, from an unrecognized Bedouin village in southern Israel, fatally stabbed Ron Kokia, a sergeant in the IDF’s Nahal Infantry Brigade, while the serviceman waited at a bus stop on November 30. He was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, possession of a knife, preparing for an act of terror and using a weapon.

His half-brother Zahi Abu Jaudah, 22, acted as an accomplice and assisted him after the attack, according to the Shin Bet. He was indicted for attempted murder, possession of a knife and obstruction of justice, among other charges.

Ron Yitzhak Kokia, an IDF soldier who was stabbed to death in a terror attack on November 30, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

The charges against the two were classified as terror-related.

“I call on the court to be tough with the murderers and their family members who contributed to the murder with their criminal behavior,” Boaz said. “This is important to give us, the family of the victim, justice, and also to deter other potential murderers. The punishment also has to be economic, like stripping away benefits and fines that compensate the state for the expenses incurred by the murder.”

Ron’s mother Levana Kokia also urged the death penalty: “I hope to see the murderer with a black bag over his head, that’s what I hope for. But it looks like we won’t get a hanging and we won’t get a death sentence, but we’ll go as far as we can.”

Boaz Kokia called for the murderer and his family to be ostracized by all Israelis, Jews and Bedouin alike, “to send a clear message from everyone against violence of any sort and for any reason. This violence hurts everyone, and Bedouin citizens most of all.”

He also accused Arab lawmakers of inciting their supporters to commit acts of violence through persistent slandering of the Jewish state.

“This is what they pass on to their voters, to the communities that they come from and anyone who listens,” the father said. “When they raise blood libels about the state and incite as members of the Knesset they cause this. It is a kind of incitement that indirectly causes their citizens to commit acts of violence.”

“There are those who incessantly incite and take extraordinary cases of damage to the rights of the Arab minority and use it for a whole ideology of incitement, slander and libels against the state. I expect the Knesset, with the backing of the justice branch, to cast out those MKs right now, or at least at the coming elections so that they aren’t even elected.”

On December 1, following a large-scale manhunt in the area, the Israel Police and Shin Bet arrested the two Bedouin Israeli suspects and retrieved Kokia’s rifle, but details of the case were kept under a court-issued gag order that was lifted Friday.

The Shin Bet said that during Khaled’s interrogation, he “admitted to murdering the soldier and stealing [Kokia’s] gun.”

Neither of the two men had a history of terrorist activities, the Shin Bet said.

The security service also shed light on Khaled’s motives, saying he committed the attack “out of a desire to do something on behalf of the Palestinians, and as revenge for IDF activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

The Shin Bet added that Khaled identified with various terrorist groups and “has extremist beliefs.”

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