Cemetery Vandal Unfit to Stand Trial

A 32-year-old Haifa Bay area resident will not stand trial for two cemetery desecrations last month for which an accomplice has drawn a stiff prison sentence.

A Haifa magistrate ruled Thursday that Gershon Tennenbaum, 32, of Kiryat Yam is mentally unfit for a trial.

The judge based his opinion on the report of the district psychiatrist that Tennenbaum was incapable of distinguishing right from wrong and moral from immoral behavior.

His friend and accomplice, David Goldner, 41, of Kiryat Motzkin, was sentenced May 28 to three years in prison and bound over for another year by the Haifa Magistrates Court.

The two men were arrested for desecrating and defacing 303 tombstones in the Kfar Samir and Hof Carmel cemeteries in Haifa during the night of May 12.

According to the police, Goldner did the daubing with a spray-paint can as Tennenbaum dictated viciously anti-Semitic slogans.

The two men, ba’alei teshuvah — returnees emissaries of the Messiah. They admitted to the crime, saying their purpose was to “unite the Jewish people” by casting suspicion on Arabs.

The magistrate rejected a prosecution demand to institutionalize Tennenbaum immediately. But he ordered him held in detention pending a final decision.

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