No good deed goes unrewarded, and the reward sometimes comes when you least expect it.
An Arab who was instrumental in saving the lives of two Israelis from an angry Palestinian mob last summer received a lenient sentence from an Israeli court last week in a show of gratitude, Israel’s Ynet reports. He had been charged with illegally staying in Israel, impersonating another individual and using forged documents.
Last summer, just before the start of Operation Protective Edge, an Israeli doctor and his son inadvertently entered a Palestinian village in Samaria late at night. Within a short time, they were surrounded by an angry mob.
“It was the first Thursday of Ramadan,” the doctor recalled during testimony on behalf of the Palestinian who saved him. “There were lights, and people were on the street. I got nervous trying to cross the village as fast as possible and reached a do-not-enter sign. They told me to go somewhere. They must have misled me. I drove and they followed me.”
“Someone opened the [car] door and snatched my glasses,” the doctor said. “I snatched them back, drove fast and reached a dead end again. A family was sitting there, and someone told me to take a certain road, saying ‘no one will do anything to you.’ I was very nervous.
“My son called the police at this point. A friend of my son was one of the three kidnapped [boys who were murdered by Hamas in the summer], and the policeman who answered the phone was the same one [who answered when one of the three had called]. I thought I was going to have to look death in the eyes. The ground was burning.”
“When we turned around out of the dead end, we were blocked by a vehicle and pelted with rocks,” he continued. “We drove in reverse for a bit ,and one man told me ‘I want you to live, come into my house until the army comes to rescue you.’ He let us in and called a Palestinian policeman whom he knew.”
“It took 45 minutes for the army to arrive. There were dozens of people throwing rocks, but he and his family – 20 people – stood around our car and would not let anyone come near the house. They without a doubt saved our lives.”
“The accused is one of the protectors,” the doctor stated. “He stopped the rioters with his body from entering and reaching us. He’s one of those who risked his life for me and saved me and my son.”
Court Leniency in Show of Gratitude
The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court decided to show leniency in the sentencing of the 38-year-old Palestinian.
“The accused is a sort of a righteous among the nations,” Judge Shamai Becker noted in his decision, referring to non-Jews in Europe who had saved Jews from Nazis during World War II.
Becker sentenced the man to only 18 days in prison, which he had already served while in police custody.
“We must not sentence him to more time as a show of gratitude for risking his life, his livelihood and his status in the village by saving Jews from a bitter end,” the judge wrote. He also determined there was no indication that the Palestinian had intended to commit property or security offenses.
The judge pointed out that the man and his family were suffering harassment in the village because they had defended the Jews.
“I believe the Israeli court ought to be grateful to the accused for his actions and with that encourage such dangerous and altruistic actions in the future,” he wrote in the ruling.
The judge noted that two others who had helped save the doctor and his son recently received an entry visa to Israel. “Without presuming to override the considerations of the relevant authorities and without having the entire record of the accused’s past and other circumstances, I find it appropriate to recommend the same right for him as well, as long as there are no reservations,” he stated.
Attorney Rahamim Dayan, who represented, the Palestinian said that “this was a brave decision of the court that constitutes as a precedent. I hope that the actions of the accused will lead to similar acts in the future.”