A haredi man who attended a 'Talmud Torah' (elementary school) in Rishon Lezion has been awarded NIS 70,000 ($17,000) for an attack he sustained in 2003, when a student from a secular school located next to the Talmud Torah threw a rock at him and struck him in the eyes, damaging the victim's eyesight. The case has been in the courts since 2003, as both sides collected evidence, expert opinions, and legal opinions supporting either side's case.
The decision was handed down several weeks ago by a Tel Aviv civil court, during the “nine days,” the period leading up to the fast of Tisha B'Av. Parents of the then-child- and now the victim himself, who is now an adult – sued the city of Rishon Lezion, the Education Ministry, and both schools for compensation, claiming that the victim's injuries were the result of a long-standing situation that was well-known, but that none of the parties involved had tried to stop.
According to the court, the incident occurred during recess sessions for both schools, which were located right next to each other, with only a low fence separating their courtyards. “There was clear hostility between students in the two schools, with curses, insults, and rocks hurled by students on each side to the others. The incidents had continued for at least two years, until the hareidi school moved, largely due to the tragic incident in question,” the court said. Because the hostility was mutual, the incident was not labeled a "hate crime."
The court agreed that the authorities, both local, municipal, and national, should have done more to alleviate the problem. The court did not explore why there were no efforts to actively defuse the situation.
In its decision, the court said that it hoped that “we will be able to overcome the baseless hatred that is eating us alive, as we head down the road to the construction of the Third Temple, which we hope will be speedily rebuilt.”