State appeals light sentence for Jewish man in mob attack on Arab man in Bat Yam

Prosecution says one-year prison term insufficient, given use of state flag and interview on live TV during violent incident

Dozens attack the vehicle of Saeed Mousa, an Arab man, in Bat Yam on May 12, 2021. (Screenshot: Twitter)
Dozens attack the vehicle of Saeed Mousa, an Arab man, in Bat Yam on May 12, 2021. (Screenshot: Twitter)

The State Attorney’s Office on Sunday appealed to the Supreme Court over the sentencing of a man to one year in prison for his involvement in a mob attack on an Arab motorist during a spasm of intercommunal violence last year, arguing it was too lenient.

Lahav Nagauker, who was 20 at the time, was convicted earlier this month of incitement to violence and racism as part of a plea deal that resulted in lighter charges.

His sentencing was the first in the incident that took place last May, when a mob yanked Saeed Mousa from his car and proceeded to beat him, in an assault that left him motionless and bloodied on the ground, and seriously injured.

The court said Nagauker was not involved in the actual attack, but threw a bottle at Moussa’s car, damaging the rear windshield.

The beating, which took place in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, occurred while Israel was at war with the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip. The 11-day war ignited an unprecedented wave of internecine Jewish-Arab violence in cities around the country.

The unprovoked beating of the motorist was caught on live television, shocking the public. Nagauker was interviewed live moments after the beating, telling a reporter, “We came tonight to fight with Arabs… if we must, we will kill them, and if we must, we will murder them.”

According to the appeal filed by the State Attorney’s Office to the Supreme Court, “the defendant’s actions are uniquely and excessively serious, given the fact that he committed a long list of violent acts and racially motivated property offenses, and because the incitement he uttered repeatedly at the scene, and which affected many instigators in real-time, was while using the state flag.

“Even after the rioters at the scene carried out a brutal lynching attempt on an innocent man, whose entire sin was his national-ethnic origin, the defendant found it appropriate to be interviewed on live television and justify his acts, incite further hatred and even call on others to commit similar crimes,” the appeal read.

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