Jerusalem District Court overturns previous ruling, sentences 28-year-old educator to nine months probation for verbally abusing Ethiopian police officers in Hebron three years agoAviad Glickman • Ynet
The Jerusalem District Court has sentenced a man who verbally abused two Ethiopian officers in Hebron's Cave of Patriarchs three years ago to nine months probation. The judges overturned a previous ruling by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court which decided not to convict the suspect so as not to compromise his job as a teacher.
The man, David Kirya, 28, arrived at the Cave of Patriarchs in Purim of 2007 together with a friend. Two officers stationed at the site noticed the two were intoxicated and prevented them from entering. Kirya addressed one of them and shouted, "You're a Falashmura Nazi, you immigrated from Ethiopia to deport Jews. You're a gentile." To the other officer he said, "You're not Jews so don't pray with us."
He was then removed from the site but later returned and began verbally abusing the officers again. "Nazi, this isn't your home. You should be ashamed of being here, go back to Ethiopia," he said.
The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court initially decided to exonerate Kirya despite the fact he was indicted for a criminal offence, since he had he expressed remorse and for fear his job as a teacher would be compromised. Kirya was sentenced to 180 hours of community service.
An appeal was consequently filed by the prosecution claiming the harshness of the suspect's statements was not taken into account.
District court judges Zvi Segal, Moshe Drori and Moshe Hacohen ruled that Kirya's actions were grave and reproachable and intensified by the fact he is an educator who is expected to set an example for his students.
Segal noted that Kirya used vicious, dark, historic code words and commended the officers for containing their emotions while being so harshly treated.
I disagree with laws that criminalize speech, except for speech that creates a clear and present danger to human life.
But the law in Israel forbids a broad range of speech, including what the teacher said.
That a court would initially void a conviction and assign community service to preserve Kirya's career – as a teacher, no less! – is appalling.
[Hat Tip: Maskil.]