Community service for staged kidnapping in Hebron
Niv Assraf and Eran Naguaker fined NIS 5,000 and NIS 2,500 respectively for faking abduction in 2015 in Hebron in order to resolve financial troubles; community service also given for incident which took place shortly after kidnapping of 3 Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists.
Niv Assraf, a Be'er Sheva resident who faked his own abduction by Palestinians near Hebron in April 2015, was ordered on Sunday to serve six months of community service by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court. He also will have to pay a NIS 5,000 fine.
Assraf’s accomplice, Eran Naguaker, was sentenced to three months of community service and ordered to pay a NIS 2,500 fine.
The two confessed and were convicted in a plea deal for providing a false message and obtaining gains by deception. As part of the deal the prosecution decided to drop the more serious charge of accepting goods by fraudulent means.
The prosecution, which hoped for a prison sentence, asked for delay in the execution of a sentence which was granted by the court. From the moment the sentence takes effect, the prosecution will have a month and a half in order to appeal the verdict.
The judge, Ohad Gordon, wrote in the verdict, “The defendants committed serious crimes and exploited the country's main aspects: first, the necessity of dealing with constant security risks faced by our society and our sons from Israel’s enemies—the risk which we all live with, and which could extract a heavy price from us at any moment.
"Second, the value of mutual cooperation in our society, which is reflected by the willingness to help those who are in trouble, and which also comes at a price and comes at a price of public resources," concluded the judge.
Efrat Filtzer-Bizman from Jerusalem District Attorney's Office, said “Niv Assraf and Eran Naguaker were convicted of providing a false message of abduction for financial gains, which resulted in many security forces being called into Hebron.
“The prosecution asked for a prison sentence for the defendants in light of the severity of the act—the endangerment of the lives of security forces involved with the rescue mission, as well as resources that were invested in order to locate the two—justifies a more serious punishment,” added the attorney.
“It’s a premeditated act that was planned on the day of the kidnapping and lasted for many hours in a very sensitive area, only months after the kidnapping of the three teenagers ... The prosecution will study the verdict and consider its options,” she exclaimed.
The two decided to fake the abduction less than a year after the kidnapping of the three teenagers, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frankel.
Naguaker who was at the time in the military, called the police and said that Assraf has disappeared near Hebron after leaving his vehicle there. The call prompted the police to launch an emergency investigation over fears of a kidnapping.
Many security forces, including soldiers, special units and aircrafts were called into the area.
Following an eight hour search, Assarf was found near Kiryat Arba, and during the investigation confessed to staging the kidnapping in order to resolve financial troubles.
As a result, Assraf and Naguaker were charged with providing a false message and accepting goods by fraudulent means. In the indictment, it said that on the day of the fake kidnapping, during a car ride to Kiryat Arba, Assraf told Naguaker about his intentions to disappear.
Following a break-up with his girlfriend, Assraf hoped that the news of the kidnapping would lead her to care for him again.
Once the two reached their destination, they began contemplating how to stage the disappearance and started looking for a hideout. It was decided that Assraf would leave the vehicle for the hideout and leave his cellphone in the car in order to avoid being located.
Later on, Naguaker left Kiryat Arba, stopped on the side of the road, changed a deflated tire and went back to Kiryat Arba. There he approached a police car and reported to an officer that his friend had exited the car, started walking towards an Arab village and did not come back. The officer instructed him to call the emergency services.
In addition to the criminal charges, a civil trial is also being conducted against Assraf and Naguaker, in which they are being sued for NIS 625,000 for falsely alerting security forces.
Eran Naguaker’s attorney Idan Gamlieli said that his client has shown remorse for his acts.
“Eran regrets the incident and emphasized that he did not intend to cause public hysteria. The court accepted his pleas and gave him an appropriate punishment in light of similar offences, personal circumstances and because he’s a young man with no criminal record who will rehabilitate his life.”