Tel Aviv Terror Stabber Sentenced to Life Plus 20 Years in Prison

Zaka personnel at the scene where two Israelis were killed in a stabbing attack at the Beit Panorama office building in southern Tel Aviv on Nov. 19. (Moti Karelitz/Zaka Tel Aviv)
Zaka personnel at the scene where two Israelis were killed in a stabbing attack at the Beit Panorama office building in southern Tel Aviv on Nov. 19, 2015. (Moti Karelitz/Zaka Tel Aviv)

Ra’ad Halil (al-Masalmah), the terrorist who carried out a stabbing terror attack at the Beit Panorama office complex in Tel Aviv last year, was sentenced Monday to two life terms in prison plus an additional 20-year sentence. Halil was indicted on two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. Halil, 36, is a resident of the town of Dura, south of Chevron, which has been a hotbed of terrorism.

Halil’s two victims were 32-year-old Aharon Yisayev from Holon and 51-year-old Reuven Aviram from Ramle. They were killed when Halil entered a religious articles factory that housed a small shul for the benefit of workers in the south Tel Aviv building. The two were killed when Halil tried to get into the shul as a Minchah minyan was just starting, stabbing the victims right outside the room. People inside the room blocked the door for several long minutes as the terrorist tried to barge into the room. Eventually an individual with a gun was able to shoot the terrorist, wounding him moderately.

Halil, a resident of the Palestinian Authority town of Dura, had been granted an entry permit into Israel in order to take care of “personal matters.” He came to Beit Panorama to see his brother, who has a work permit and lives in the complex. Halil allowed his entry permit to lapse, and after a week, he decided to carry out a terror attack, the indictment said.

As a result of the stabbing, the Security Cabinet canceled all work permits for Palestinians in the Chevron area.

Also sentenced Monday was Ta’amar Varidat, a 25-year-old terrorist resident of the village of Dahariya. Also as part of a plea deal, Varidat received 16-½ years in prison for stabbing an Israeli teen in Petach Tikvah in October 2015. The victim was lightly injured, but not due to any effort by the terrorist; quite the opposite, the court said, saying that he “attacked and stabbed the victim with great ferocity,” and if the victim was still alive, it was not due to Varidat’s desire to allow him to live. The court also rejected Varidat’s claim that he had been “upset” due to a fight with his wife, and that he had “acted in a psychotic manner.”

Also Monday, prosecutors approved a plea bargain with two Arab residents of the Yerushalayim neighborhood of Tsur Baher, who admitted to planning to organize terrorist acts on behalf of IS. The two, aged 23 and 38, admitted to attempting to acquire weapons and to communicating with a foreign agent in order to set up terror attacks. The activities took place in October 2015, and the two were arrested soon afterwards. Among the terror attacks planned was the placement of a bomb in a police car, prosecutors said.