Levinger Convicted of Assaulting Arab Family in May 1988 Incident

Rabbi Moshe Levinger, the Gush Emunim leader from Hebron who was released from jail last month, has been convicted again of anti-Arab activities.

The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday overturned a lower court’s decision to acquit him of charges stemming from an incident at the home of an Arab family in May 1988.

The District Court, acting on an appeal by state prosecutors, found Levinger guilty of assault, trespassing and insulting a soldier on duty.

The militant rabbi was accused of breaking into the residence of the Samuh family in Hebron after his daughter complained that the Arab children had teased her. He was charged with assaulting the mother and her son, and with trying to attack the 7-year-old daughter.

An Israel Defense Force soldier who came to investigate the commotion ordered Levinger off the premises. The rabbi refused to leave and called the soldier an agent of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The three-judge panel that heard the case in Jerusalem Magistrates Court accepted Levinger’s denial and pronounced him not guilty.

In overturning the verdict, the District Court decided that the lower court dealt with marginal issues but overlooked the “essence” of the case. It has yet to pronounce sentence.

Levinger was released from jail on Aug. 14, after serving 13 weeks for the fatal shooting of an Arab shopkeeper, Hassan Salah, in downtown Hebron in September 1988.

In that case, charges of manslaughter were reduced to causing death through negligence. Levinger, confronted by stone-throwers, fired into the crowded Hebron marketplace, hitting Salah, who was trying to close his shop.

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