The Central District Attorney's Office filed an indictment against David Sharaf, 41, of Eilat, for setting fire to Arab Israeli citizens' property. According to the indictment, Sharaf decided to set these fires to avenge recent events in the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, the indictment does not mention a nationalist motive.
According to the indictment, filed by attorney Netanel Bujo, Sharaf planned to ignite the property of the Arab population. The accused also planned to set fire to open areas in order to prevent firefighters from responding to fires aimed at the Arab population.
The first fire was set on July 8th in a souvenir shop located in the Old City of Jerusalem. The following day the accused called his relative and told him that he intends to "burn Arabs" because, he claimed, "they are burning our property." The relative told authorities about the conversation, and Sharaf was questioned by police and removed from the city of Eilat for a period of 15 days.
The next day, the accused, according to the indictment, set fire in three additional locations — a field near the IDF base in the central Nahal Sorek, an olive grove next to a residential building in an East Jerusalem's neighborhood, and vegetation near several buildings and homes in Jerusalem.
According to the arrest petition, "The location of the fires increases the potential damage of his actions. The accused set fire near a military base, a field of thorns that ignites easily, and in the heart of a city, near many bystanders."
"The accused poses a larger threat because of his motives. He chose to attack areas adjacent to the Temple Mount and the Old City with the declared intention of stirring up the public and "setting the region aflame," the arrest petition maintained.
The State Prosecutor's Office asked the court to extend Sharaf's detention until the end of the proceedings. The State Attorney's Office noted that the nationalist clause is not mentioned in the indictment because such a motive carries a double sentence for offenses that carry less than a ten year sentence. If the offense carries a longer sentence, it does not matter if a nationalist motive exists or not.
In addition, there are certain offenses, such as the incitement offense, that can carry a double sentence if a nationalist motive exists. In a crime of murder, having a background in terrorism activity can add years to the sentence. But for crimes with a longer sentence, like arson, this doesn't mean anything.
Attorney Shiran Bergman, who represents Sharaf on behalf of the Public Defender's Office, said: "We have yet to receive the investigation materials. After we receive and study them we will respond in court. The court accepted our request and sent the accused to psychiatric observation."
The State Prosecutor's Office stated that "According to the Penal Law, a nationalist motive is mentioned in the section of the offense for the purpose of doubling the sentence, when the offenses carry up to 10 years in prison, while the arson charge attributed to the accused is 15 years. The accused intention to cause harm to Israeli citizens belonging to the Arab sector is explicitly mentioned in the indictment."