+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Murder of Palestinian highlights Israeli judicial discrimination

According to the Israeli law system, if you’re an Arab and you beat a Jew to death, you’re a murderer. But if you’re Jewish and you stab an Arab, that’s manslaughter

Some 18 months ago, the country was outraged when Leonid Arik Carp, a resident of Ramat Aviv, was attacked by a gang of youth, while he was trying to protest his daughter from their molestation. Carp was savagely beaten, and later dies of his wounds. Three of his assailants were charged with murder (Hebrew); in a highly unusual move, four others were charged with failing to provide Carp with aid. The whole affair had a clear racist tinge, with the media – and the poisonous replies – focusing on the fact that the attackers were a group of Israeli Arabs, accompanied by two Jewish girls, one of whom was an IDF soldier; the story quickly became that of violation of Jewish blood. Many people claimed Carp’s murder was a nationalistic lynch. Carp, it should be remembered, was attacked by blows, slaps and kicks (Hebrew).

About two weeks ago, a gang of four Orthodox Jews, two of them settlers, attacked (Hebrew) Hussam Rwidi, and one of them slashed him to death with a razor. That, at least, is what the police suspects them of; we should keep in mind that the Carp murder suspects have yet to be convicted, and should be suspicious when the police claims it has a confession, in a country where interrogators are prosecuted for torture and where cops caught lying on the witness stand routinely return to duty, unpunished. According to the police, the murder of Rwidi was, at least in part, nationalistically-motivated: Rwidi was chosen as victim since he spoke Arabic, hence identifying himself as a member of the lower race. Palestinians claim – those claims should also be viewed with caution – that the assault began with the cries of “death to Arabs”. Later, says the police, two of the attackers were arrested while trying to dispose of the murder weapon, at the request of the murderer.

And yet, the prosecution will charge the stabber only with manslaughter, not murder (Hebrew). The fact he began the fight because of his victims’ ethnicity somehow become irrelevant. The fact that unlike the killers of of Arik Carp, he was in possession of a sharp instrument is also considered irrelevant. It is noteworthy that even though the stabber’s friends aided him, and that two of them were involved in an attempt to dispose of the weapon, does not cause them to be charged with assisting murder, or even in failing to prevent a crime or failing to provide Rwidi with aid.

The police claims the assault began as pre-mediated assault, which devolved into a fight, which ended in a stabbing. This argument would surely apply to Carp’s attackers as well – but in Carp’s case the prosecution made a case for murder, and indicted the people who were not involved in the attack itself. I am not a jurist, but common sense indicates that if you pull out a blade during a fight, you should know there’s a chance it’ll end in death – a significantly more reasonable assumption than when you attack someone with fists and kicks. Even so, that’s the decision taken by the prosecution. Selective enforcement? A wink to the right-wing? Evil be to him who evil thinks.

The behavior of the Israeli media is also noteworthy. Carp’s murder was described as a lynch and as a nationalistic attack, even though there’s no good reason to think it was. Rwidi’s murder, on the other hand, was described as a “drunken brawl”, even though it was evidently a terror attack. It disappeared from the media in record time – admittedly, under a gag order and while important international events happened in the background. And yet, no one tried to find out who the girlfriends of the four pogromchiks are, and we’ll probably won’t hear any shocked muttering about them dating such human trash. Ah, the benefits of being a member of the Chosen People.

Update: The prosecution changed its mind and decided to charge the stabber with murder, not manslaughter. His accomplices will be charged with grievous bodily harm. (Hebrew)

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Hadas Ziv

      As the moral goes against torture: it is not only the act of torturer him/herself but also the society and the organizations needed to support and enable it: the judge that says its ok the doctor that monitors, the guards that learn to shut their ears, the interrogator, the media that fails to report. So with the racism that enables the murder and violence: it needs a forgiving and authorizing society. it is not, never was, “wild grass” as they like to say. If they realy thought of those deeds as wild grass the gardener/judge would have them taken out of the garden

      Reply to Comment
    2. […] Any reflection about the trend of racial murders inside Israel was officially discouraged (“Murder of Palestinian highlights Israeli judicial discrimination,” 972mag.com, 23 February 2011). And so the band plays […]

      Reply to Comment
    3. udi

      and yet one of the defendants in the Rwidi case has been charged with murder and the accused in the Carp murder were convicted of manslaughter. Israeli justice going through its paces.

      will you now report this or does this truth net mesh well with your politics.

      Reply to Comment