The Beersheva District Court accept the state’s appeal in the case against three sikrikim who were convicted of protesting against the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Gat HaRav Moshe Havlin.
The three; Shlomo Weissfish, Yehuda Silberberg and Menachem Tep were found guilty of illegal gathering, trespassing, and harming personal property of another. The protests and agmas nefesh caused to the rav surrounds his role on the National Chabad Beis Din and his role in negotiating a deal with the IDF permitting Chabad talmidim to travel to learn in 770 for ‘Kvutza’ and agreeing to serve in the military following their return. The protests decried the fact that chareidim were agreeing l’chatchila to have talmidim serve in the IDF.
In fact, there is a split in Chabad as many of the older rabbonim explain the Rebbe is adamantly opposed to military service, questioning how a deal is made arranging service as a l’chatchila option.
At one point, they invaded the home of the 70-year-old rav and caused him great distress, resulting in their hospitalization.
In the framework of the arrangement that was reached between the parties, the state requested that they be sentenced to prison terms ranging from six months in prison to a community service period of nine months, each according to their share. The state also requested that they be sentenced to probation and that they be required to pay financial compensation to Rabbi Havlin. The defendants, on their part, asked to make do with the period of their detention served during the trial.
The Magistrate’s Court did not accept the state’s position and made do with the matter of the prison component during the period of detention of the defendants, and also abstained from participating in compensation in favor of the complainants.
The Southern District Prosecutor’s Office filed an appeal with the District Court of Beersheva. As part of the appeal, the State Attorney’s Office sought to overturn the Magistrate’s Court’s sentence and significantly worsen the defendants’ sentences, so that they would be sentenced to imprisonment beyond the period of detention, along with a substantial monetary fine and compensation.
The Beersheva District Court accepted the state’s appeal and sentenced the defendants to six months’ imprisonment for Weissfish and a two-month prison term for Silberberg and Tep.
In addition, compensation was paid in favor of the rabbi and his wife in the amount of NIS 10,000.
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