Photos: Roee Idan, Ilana Curiel
Eran Nagauker and Niv Asraf
Photos: Roee Idan, Ilana Curiel
Israeli who staged his own kidnapping jailed for 9 months
Niv Asraf, who faked his abduction in Hebron in 2015, and his accomplice Eran Nagauker originally received community service but an appeal by the prosecution led to harsher punishment.
Niv Asraf, an Israeli who staged his own kidnapping in the West Bank in 2015, was sentenced Wednesday to nine months in prison, while his accomplice Eran Nagauker was sentenced to six months of community service, after Jerusalem District Court accepted an appeal by the prosecution.



The court did accept Asraf and Nagauker's request to postpone the beginning of their sentence until February 24, to allow them time to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.


In April 2015, the two were driving toward Kiryat Arba, a Jewish settlement on the outskirts of Hebron, when Asraf decided to stage his own kidnapping.


Niv Asraf and Eran Nagauker  (Photo: Yishai Porat)
Niv Asraf and Eran Nagauker


Nagauker later claimed that he and his friend had staged the abduction to elicit a positive reaction from Asraf's ex-girlfriend. Asraf, however, said that he had decided to "disappear" after he accumulated millions of shekels in gambling debts. Asraf told investigators that he had felt threatened by criminals in Be'er Sheva and had therefore wanted to escape.


In Kiryat Arba, the two found a hiding place for Asraf, who left his cellphone in the car, so he could not be found via GPS.


Nagauker then left Kiryat Arba, pulled over to the side of the road, replaced one of his tires with a spare tire, and drove back to the settlement.


When he arrived at the entrance to Kiryat Arba, he approached a police vehicle standing on the side of the road and gave the police officer in the car a false report, telling him his friend got out of his car, walked toward an Arab village, and failed to return after half an hour. The police officer told him to call the police emergency hotline, which Nagauker did to report his friend's "disappearance."


The staged kidnapping took place less than a year after the kidnap and murder of three Israeli yeshiva students—Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel—by Hamas terrorists.


From left: Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel (Photo: Shaul Golan)
From left: Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel


The security forces came out in full force to search for Asraf, with thousands of soldiers, special units and aircraft dispatched to the area. After eight hours, Asraf was found in a wadi near Kiryat Arba.


The two Be'er Sheva residents were sentenced by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court last June to community service after admitting to their crimes as part of a plea deal. Asraf was sentenced to six months in prison, which were commuted to community service, and Nagauker received three months of community service.


The Jerusalem District Prosecution successfully appealed the lenient punishment to the district court.


"The circumstances of the case... are very unusual and very grave," the Jerusalem District Court judges wrote in their ruling. "The respondents' actions, which endangered the security forces that had to search through a dangerous area, were done several months after the kidnapping and murder of the three teens."


Efrat Pilzer from the Jerusalem District Prosector's Office  said the court "expressed disgust by the actions of the defendants, who were willing to endanger police officers and soldiers, in a sensitive area, just a few months after the kidnapping of the three teenagers."


"The decision made today sends a message that those who would make cynical use of security forces will not be taken lightly. (The false kidnapping report) could have caused a flare-up in the entire area," Pilzer said.


Asraf's lawyer, Motti Yosef, said the punishment was "unusual, abnormal and disproportional to the event itself."


"My client's world has collapsed. I don't understand what the public interest is in sending a guy, who took responsibility from the first moment, to prison. This is an incident that happened four years ago. Enough. It's time to let go and give him a chance," Yosef said.


In addition to the criminal proceedings against them, the Defense Ministry is suing the two in a civil court for NIS 625,000 in damages, to cover the costs of the search.


פרסום ראשון: 01.23.19, 22:39
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