Appeal Denied After Defendant Refuses to Look at Women in Court

She is clothed with strength and splendor; She looks to the future cheerfully. Proverbs 31:25 (The Israel Bible™)

Amiram Ben-Uliel, who is suspected of murdering an Arab family in Duma back in 2015, has appealed his prison placement. However, his appeal has been denied. The reason – he refuses to look directly at women reports Srugim.

Ben Uliel appealed the court’s decision to send him to a prison in southern Israel as it would make it difficult for his wife and child to visit him. Judge Ido Droyan-Gamliel dismissed his appeal saying that: “tomorrow, they’ll demand that the state will be represented by men only”.

As a religious Jew, Ben Uliel refused to raise his head and insisted on looking at the floor because there were women in the courthouse.

The Jewish ruling of ‘Shmirat Eynayim’ (guarding of the eyes),  is listed in the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law)-  the most widely accepted compilation of Jewish law ever written. The section regarding the guarding of one’s eyes, states the following:

(1) It is forbidden to look at a woman if she is dressed immodestly. (There are different laws regarding one’s wife.)

(2) a. If you know of an area where immodestly dressed women are present, it is forbidden to enter this area. An alternative route must be taken.

b. If there is no alternative route or the alternative route is impractical or costly, you are permitted to pass through the area providing you make every reasonable effort to avoid seeing the immodest sights.

In 2016, then 21-year-old Amiram Ben-Uliel along with another minor were indicted for a 2015 firebomb attack on the home of the Dawabsha family in the Samarian Arab village of Duma. The fire killed a toddler, Ali Saad Dawabsha and eventually parents Riham and Saad.

However, the arrest and handling of the case came under fire as evidence of a forced confession under duress and torture was revealed. When that happened, 72 rabbis signed a letter to the Prime Minister and Justice Minister demanding that the trial be thrown out of court. Their letter was ignored. During Ben-Uliel’s initial trial, he refused to testify as to avoid cooperating with the “injustice” of the proceedings.

Making matters worse, eyewitnesses gave contradictory testimony to that of the police’s official report. For example, people in the village said they saw two perpetrators while the police insist that there was only one. The police also claim that the suspects arrived at the scene of the crime on foot while witnesses say that they arrived by vehicle.