Israeli sentenced to 9 months of community service for killing Arab

The Beersheba District Court on Tuesday sentenced Israeli Arye Schiff to nine months of community service for shooting and killing an Israeli Arab who broke into her car in November last year, Walla reported.

Schiff was sentenced in a settlement with the prosecutor for his role in the murder of Mohammad al-Atrash, who, according to the defendant, had been trying to steal his car and was therefore acting in self-defense. This agreement with the prosecution and the sentence follow his conviction in July, where the court rejected his claims of self-defense. In fact, the prosecution said that security camera video of the incident showed that Schiff was not in danger and was not even in his car when the car thieves arrived.

The prosecution had originally sought a sentence of 6 to 4 years in prison, but this agreement prevented it, Walla reported.

Dozens had come to the courtroom to support Schiff, including the religious Zionist MK Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“Aryeh Schiff should receive a medal, not be prosecuted, and certainly not receive a community service or prison sentence,” Ben-Gvir said in response to the verdict.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, head of the Otzma Yehudit (“Jewish Power”) Party attends preparations for the new Knesset on April 5 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

“The ruling sends a message to residents of the South that they must not defend themselves, or else they will face charges and imprisonment. The huge gap between the sentence and the lengthy prison term demanded by the prosecution shows the racist treatment shown to Jews. forced to defend themselves. “

He also spoke out against the Meretz MK Mossi Raz verdict.

“The sentence handed down to Ayeh Schiff is a disgrace,” Raz said in a statement.

“It is important that everyone feels safe in their own homes, but we must never allow it to become normalized that citizens can take the lives of others into their hands. I can’t help but think that if Schiff were an Arab, his punishment would have been much more severe. “.

But others welcomed the verdict.

“After many months of public fighting, we are happy that public pressure has been successful,” the right-wing NGO Im Tirtzu said in a statement.

“There was no need to convict Aryeh, but at least the judge understands well that a very clear message must be conveyed that a citizen can defend himself against criminals. It will take a long time to restore the safety of the Negev, but at least Aryeh Schiff can get your life back “.

Clashes soon broke out outside the courtroom between Schiff’s supporters and local Bedouin residents, especially when Ben-Gvir arrived. When the MK came to court, Bedouin residents began yelling at him, calling him a racist.

Ben-Gvir responded that “We came to support and say that Arye Schiff is the hero of Israel, and it is time to bring order to the South.”

He added that “if the police had been a deterrent in the south, Schiff would not have had to shoot the robber.”

Other members of the Israeli right have expressed support for Schiff in the past.

“The accusation against you should not have been filed and once filed should be dropped,” then-public security minister Amir Ohana told Schiff in March. “As usual, and despite conventional thinking, the problem is not the law or the wording of the law. The problem is those who interpret the law. They are giving the law a restrictive interpretation until it is effectively denied. [which is generally how the issue of self-defense is treated]… They give themselves the power to fill or empty the substance of a law ”.

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.

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