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Moshe Yaalon to testify in ‘Hate Wedding’ Affair

CM 05/05/2021 2

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Former defense minister Moshe Yaalon will testify on Wednesday afternoon in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court trial of the “Hate Wedding” Affair.

In October 2016, 13 defendants, including five minors ages 14-17, were indicted on charges of incitement to violence and terrorism for participating in a wedding celebration on December 7, 2015, in which revelers were caught on video dancing with guns and attacking pictures of the three Palestinian victims of the infamous July 2015 Duma arson terror attack.
The indictments, in what became known as the “Hate Wedding” Affair, were filed by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office after approval by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and then-head state attorney Shai Nitzan, and included the groom, Yakir Eshbal from Yad Binyamin.
The minute-long footage of the wedding, broadcast by Channel 10 in 2015, horrified the public and Israeli politicians across the spectrum. It showed young men wearing white skull caps and shirts, dancing while holding knives and guns and carrying out violent displays.
Yaalon is expected to be questioned by the defense about how and why he released the videos of the wedding to the media, and whether his actions in that regard were legally problematic.
In November 2018, Judge Eitan Cohen ruled in favor of the defense in forcing the prosecution to provide 17 case files to the defendants in which the state did not press charges against Arabs for actions which the defendants say were identical to their actions.
Cohen hinted that if there was a tougher line taken against Jews, it could be grounds for dismissing the charges even if the defendants were guilty.

On the flip side, Cohen ruled in favor of the prosecution on a separate issue.
While the defense found that the prosecution has lost one of the originals of the videos of the incident, the prosecution appears to have gotten the court to move past this.
It has said that it still retains many original videos and that it has a full copy with chain of custody proven regarding the one missing original.
A NUMBER of politicians from across the political spectrum criticized the video in 2015, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said: “Israel is a land of the rule of law. We will not tolerate a situation where a particular group refuses to accept the laws of the state and carries out acts of murder.”
However, after all of the condemnation, a criminal indictment for incitement was never a foregone conclusion and had required Mandelblit’s approval.
In fact, Honenu, which defends right-wing activists in court, issued a statement in 2016 condemning the indictment as showing a double standard against right-wing Jews as opposed to Israeli-Arabs.
The statement said that Israeli-Arabs frequently fire into the air and display guns at weddings and other communal gatherings, and frequently engage in incitement without consequence.
Asked in 2016 how it compared Israeli-Arabs shooting into the air with no specific anti-Jewish message to the actions of the defendants, Honenu did not address the issue.
Pressed about the large number of indictments against Israeli-Arabs for incitement to violence in public speeches or for Facebook content, Honenu appeared to imply that the number of indictments was still far lower than the amount of incitement.
Jerusalem District Attorney Yifat Pinhasi, who filed the case along with prosecutor Erez Pedan, released an unusual public statement in 2016 regarding the indictment, stating that the event “was a grave incident of incitement to violence and terror.” She said that “the actions absolutely crossed the line from being legitimate free expression into the area of criminal incitement offenses.”
Pressed on how the defendants’ actions, however condemned, could constitute incitement when they occurred at a private event, a Justice Ministry spokeswoman responded that the approximately 500 attendees removed the event from being considered private since the incitement impacted a large number of viewers.
The indictment said that Eshbal, the groom, was in control of the incitement that occurred in the presence of a huge audience of around 500 attendees.
A STATEMENT by the Justice Ministry in 2016 noted that shortly before the wedding, investigators had arrested several suspects in the 2015 Duma terror attack, possibly making the anti-Dawabshe display a partial response to the arrests.
The indictment continued that shortly before the wedding, some of the defendants printed out pictures of Saad, Riham and Ali Dawabshe along with the message: “revenge.”
Pictures were attached to cartons and boards so they could be waved as banners at the wedding.
During the wedding, defendant and wedding singer Sinai Tor of Ramat Hasharon sang the song “let us rebuild the Temple,” but added the words “that the Mosque should burn – should burn” as well as “that the Mosque should be blown up – should be blown up.” 
During the song, another defendant, Daniel Moshe Piner of Kfar Tapuach, joined the dancing with a shirt bearing the written message “there are no Arabs, there are no attacks” while waving a yellow shirt on which was written the symbol of the outlawed Kach movement.
Next, Tor started singing songs about vengeance on God’s enemies, changing biblical references to the Philistines to Palestine. Several defendants along with dozens of other attendees, including minors, started dancing while waving pictures of the Dawabshe family and displaying two M-4 rifles, one M-16 rifle, pistols or pistol replicas, Molotov cocktail replicas and knives.
One of the M4 rifles belonged to IDF soldier Menachem Cohen.
Some of the dancers danced with their faces covered with ski-masks and some of them repeatedly stabbed, burned and tore the pictures of the Dawabshes with knives, fire and their bare hands.
The indictment said that these actions were not only consistent with encouraging and supporting incitement to violent racist and terrorist actions, but there was a “concrete possibility that they would lead to violent and terrorist actions” against Arabs.
Another defendant, a 15-year-old minor, was separately indicted for property damage with racist motivations in which he and others raided and destroyed private property belonging to Palestinians in June.
Lahav Harkov and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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