The five residents of Zur Baher, who are suspected of throwing stones at Israeli vehicles on the eve of Rosh Hashanah and causing the death of Alexander Levlovich, were charged with manslaughter rather than murder on Thursday.
The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office has charged them with manslaughter, aggravated battery, risking a person’s life on a public road, aggravated obstruction of justice, arson, and weapons manufacturing. Two of them were also charged with throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at security forces during a 2014 riot.
On Rosh Hashanah eve, Arab youth barricaded themselves inside al-Aqsa mosque, clashing with police. According to the indictment, the defendants met that day in order to throw stones at Israeli vehicles driving in the direction of Jerusalem’s East Talpiot (Armon HaNatziv) neighborhood, seeking revenge for Israel's actions on the Temple Mount and feeling solidarity with the protesters at al-Aqsa.
The defendants told interrogators that they chose a location that will give them maximum visibility, allowing them to identify Israeli cars, while the defendant who threw the stone that killed Levlovich said he came to the scene carrying a Hamas flag.
After they threw stones at a number of vehicles, they hit Levlovich’s car, causing it to veer out of its lane and crash into a tree. Levlovich later died of the wounds he sustained in the attack.
After seeing the results of their attack, the defendants fled, later meeting to coordinate their stories.
Levlovich’s son, Nir, told Ynet that the fact the five are charged with manslaughter rather than murder “feels very bad. We’re moments away from going into court and have now received the update. We are stunned that the law doesn’t allow charging someone with murder for stone-throwing. We can only hope for legislative changes. It seems absurd that they still think that by throwing stones they only tried to hurt him.”