A military appeals court on Wednesday sentenced a Palestinian to life in prison for the attack that killed off-duty soldier Tuvia Yanai Weissman in a West Bank supermarket in 2016.
The defendant was 14 years old at the time of the attack and was identified by the initials A.T. because he was a minor during the incident.
Military prosecutors had asked for life in prison for all three terrorists involved in the attack, but A.T. was initially sentenced to 35 years due to his young age and because he expressed remorse for the killing.
Another of the terrorists, who was 16 at the time, was involved in planning and intended to take part in the attack, but was turned away by the store’s security guard. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison, and the appeal for a life sentence was not accepted.
The third attacker, who actually stabbed Weissman, was first sentenced to 35 years in prison, and after an appeal was sentenced to life imprisonment.
All three were charged with “intentionally causing death,” the equivalent of murder in Israel’s military court system, along with other, lesser offenses.
Haim Bleicher, an attorney for the Weissman family, said, “We welcome the life sentence for the accursed murderer, despite his age. The Arab enemy incites and acts to destroy Jews because they’re Jews.”
“We must fight back against terror and give maximum punishment to those murderers,” Bleicher said.
On the night of February 18, 2016, the three Palestinian teenagers arrived at the Rami Levy supermarket in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial area north of Jerusalem armed with knives.
Security camera footage from that evening show that a security guard turned one of the teens away, but let the other two into the store without a search.
Inside the supermarket, they began stabbing an Israeli man, seriously wounding him.
Weissman, a dual Israeli-US citizen and resident of the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Mikhmas, was shopping with his wife, Yael, and four-month-old daughter, Neta, during the attack.
Weissman, who was unarmed as he was on leave, rushed the assailants and tried to stop them. During the fight, he was fatally wounded and died in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center shortly thereafter.
The two stabbers attempted to flee the scene, but were shot and injured by an armed civilian and arrested. The third suspect was arrested a few days later.
Weissman was posthumously awarded a meritorious citation for bravery for fighting the terrorists while unarmed.
“Sgt. Weissman wasted no time and ran toward the place where the shouts were coming from, leaving his wife and baby daughter alone. Once he realized what was happening, Sgt. Weissman didn’t hesitate and charged barehanded at the two terrorists, fought with them, and tried to arrest them,” Maj. Gen. Roni Numa said at the ceremony where he presented the award to Weissman’s widow.