JERUSALEM (Dec. 14)
A Jerusalem magistrate acquitted Rabbi Moshe Levinger of assault charges Wednesday, after discounting the testimony of an Arab family.
Judge Joel Tzur also found the militant Gush Emunim leader from Hebron not guilty of insulting an Israel Defense Force soldier who intervened.
According to the charges, Levinger entered the home of an Arab family near the old Hadassah building in Hebron in January 1988, and physically threatened a 7-year-old girl and beat up her mother and brother.
The charge sheet said Levinger acted after his daughter complained that the Arab children had taunted her.
The judge said he ruled out the testimony of the Arab parents because he did not believe that Levinger, an Orthodox Jew, would hurt a child.
Tzur also said there was a conflict between the testimony of the 17-year-old Arab youth who said Levinger beat him and the soldier who witnessed the encounter.
He gave Levinger the benefit of the doubt.
The soldier, who was on guard duty nearby, heard the commotion and ordered Levinger to leave the Arabs’ house.
Levinger refused and called the soldier a “PLO agent.”
The magistrate said he believed Levinger made the remark but found him not guilty because the soldier, having left his post, was not insulted “while on duty.”
Levinger thanked the court. But his legal problems are not over. The right-wing rabbi faces three other trials, one of them for manslaughter in the shooting death of an Arab shopkeeper in Hebron two years ago.