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Arsonists of Jewish-Arab school sing 'praise God' after jail sentence
Two of the perpetrators get at least two years jail time and ordered to compensate Jerusalem school; 'It was worth it,' they said upon leaving the courtroom smiling.

The Jerusalem bilingual school arsonists, brothers Nahman and Shlomo Twito, were sentenced on Wednesday to two and a half and two years imprisonment, respectively.

 

 

The trial of the third accused, Yitzhak Gabai, is still ongoing because he did not confess and has yet to be convicted.

 

In addition to the prison sentence, the court gave Shlomo Twito eight months suspended sentence for three years following his release, and ordered him to pay NIS 10,000 in compensation to the bilingual school. His brother Nahman received ten months of suspended sentence, and ordered to pay the school NIS 15,000 in compensation.

 

The Twito brothers in court (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The Twito brothers in court (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

The two left the courtroom smiling, singing songs in praise of God and claiming that "it was worth it."

 

Security cameras captured the arson on tape.

 

The young men are members of the Lehava organization - a far right-wing group whose prime objective is to oppose assimilation of Jews, especially marriages between Jews and non-Jews.

 

After being caught, the three perpetrators said they vandalized and burned the school to protest the fact Jews and Arabs were attending it together and in order to raise their objection to intermarriage and assimilation to the public's attention.

 

Security camera footage

סגורסגור

שליחה לחבר

 הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

שלח
הסרטון נשלח לחברך

סגורסגור

הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

 קוד להטמעה:

 

The Twito brothers' mother told Ynet that "It’s disgusting that Jews and Arabs learn side by side. If we didn’t have a country governed by law, I would have done the same."

 

In his decision, Judge Zvi Segal referred to inciting posts the accused made on Facebook: "The freedom of expression is a fundamental principle in our country. As citizens of a democratic state, we must show the utmost of tolerance to expressions that are not easy to hear. However, freedom of expression cannot be a permission to commit acts of violence and terrorism. Those who incite to violence seek to harm and destroy the state's laws, public safety and public order."

 

Nihad Rashid, chairman of the bilingual school's steering committee said, "We respect the court's decision, but regret the leniency of the sentence. One of the defendants let out a dangerous statement according to which it was worth doing it. I hope this is not the message that will come out of the courthouse."

 

The school in Jerusalem's Pat neighborhood was set on fire at the end of November 2014. Firefighters called to the school found graffiti including "Death to Arabs", "Kahane was right" and statements condemning coexistence.

 

Screenshot captured from the security camera.
Screenshot captured from the security camera.

 

Hatem Matar, chairman of the school's PTA said immediately after the incident that contrary to previous incidents, this arson was perpetrated on school premises, and resulted in the first grade class being completely burned down.

 

"This arson was made by contemptible creatures. We will open the school as we normally do, we have already arranged for an alternative class. We will explain to the children what happened, we will come to school and strengthen them. This incident could only have beneficial effects, since every time they try to drag into these negative realms we just grow stronger," said Matar. 

 

The young people arrested were active in an organization that fights assimilation, and they have a criminal record of nationalistically motivated acts. Two of them later signed a plea bargain with the Jerusalem district's prosecutor's office, and were convicted by the city's district court with an amended indictment that did not attribute to them offenses with a racist motive.

 

The arson at the Jerusalem school occurred at the height of tensions between the Arab and the Jewish communities on the background of the abduction and murder of the three teenagers, the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and Operation Protective Edge.

 

 

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