Arab youth lynch American man in Jerusalem

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff  

Israeli authorities on Tuesday lifted a gag order on last week's murder of an American Jewish man in downtown Jerusalem by a group of drunk Arab teenagers.

The teenagers had been attending a friend's birthday party in downtown Jerusalem, and then decided to hang out in "Cat Square" near the popular Ben Yehudah pedestrian mall.

While there, the youth convinced one passerby to buy them a bottle of vodka. After finishing their drinks, the teenagers approached 60-year-old Lance Wolf, an American Jew living in Jerusalem for the past two years, and demanded cigarettes. The teenagers later told police that Wolf refused them in a very rude manner, so they decided to get some revenge by beating him repeatedly over the head with wood planks they found at a nearby construction site.

The two boys who assaulted Wolf then fled the scene along with three other friends who watched the beating without interfering. Wolf then lay on the sidewalk bleeding for nearly an hour while several passersby did nothing to help. He died several days later at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. Paramedics insist he would have lived had he received medical attention sooner.

The entire incident was caught on a security camera pointing at Cat Square. That footage helped police capture the two mains suspects, residents of a northern Jerusalem Arab neighborhood.

The suspected murderers are aged 13 and 15, a fact that will likely keep them out of jail.

Nor does their family believe they deserve such severe punishment.

The mother of the younger suspect told reporters: "They drank because it was a birthday. It wasn't on purpose. It happened because they were drinking. He is a good boy."

The brother of the suspect added: "The police have turned him into a murderer. But everyone at his age hangs out there (at Cat Square). It's summer break, and they mill around there until morning. There's nothing else to do."

Police officials responded that while the suspects do not seem like particularly troubled or troublesome teens, the parents nevertheless carry a huge responsibility to raise their children right and to know where they are and what they are doing.

Israel's left-leaning mainstream media did not reveal that the suspects are Arabs in its initial reports on the murder.

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