The Tel Aviv District Court has decided to show clemency to a Palestinian worker residing illegally in Israel-proper after he saved the lives of an Israeli Jewish doctor and his son from a stone-throwing Palestinian mob.
“The defendant is a kind of ‘Righteous Among the Nations,’” ruled Judge Shamai Becker, referencing the designation given to non-Jews who helped save Jewish lives during World War II.
Becker sentenced the defendant to 18 days in prison, which he had already served while in custody. “Rather than condemn, we show gratitude to this man because he risked his life and livelihood in his home village in order to save Jews in danger,” the judge continued.
The 38-year-old Palestinian was accused of residing in Israel illegally, of supplying a false identity and possession of counterfeit documents. He confessed to the crime, but was shown mercy both due to his earlier sacrifice and a lack of evidence that he would commit further offenses.
The incident in question, in which the man saved two Jewish lives, occurred just before last summer’s Gaza war. A Jewish doctor and his son found themselves in an Arab village in the so-called “West Bank” and were set upon by an angry mob.
The doctor, who appeared in court as a witness on behalf of the defendant, testified: “It was the first Thursday of the month of Ramadan. I was nervous and tried to pass through the Arab village as quickly as possible. Some local people told me which way to go, but they led me astray and followed us.”
Soon after, the two Israelis were attacked by the mob. The son called the police, but both feared for their lives as they became blocked and stones were hurled at their vehicle.
It was then that the defendant and some of his family members intervened and acted as a human shield between the stone-throwing mob and the endangered Israelis. For 45 minutes the Palestinian man stood guard over the two Jews until an Israeli army unit arrived to extract them.
“He undoubtedly saved our lives,” the doctor assured the court.
But that selfless act came at a cost. Since that day, the Palestinian man has suffered numerous reprisals in his village, where he is unable to find work after being branded a friend of Jews. This, too, was taken into consideration by the court.
PHOTO: Palestinian workers at a checkpoint leading into Israel-proper. The poor, corruption-riddled Palestinian economy leads many to seek jobs in the Jewish state.