The Supreme Court on Thursday convicted Yeshiva student Itamar Biton for running over Ethiopian-Israeli parking lot cashier Noga Zoarish, overruling last week's acquittal by Jerusalem District Court judge Moshe Drori.
In addition to the 150 hours of community service that were, nevertheless, ordered by Drori, the Supreme Court added a one-year suspended sentence.
In a 350-page ruling heavily criticized last week by Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, Drori had written that he made the decision because the defendant, the son of the Hadera chief rabbi, wanted to become a dayan (religious court judge).
Drori also wrote that as a result of being run over by the defendant, whose name had been banned from publication until Wednesday night, Zoraish, had become a full-fledged member of society, because she had been treated respectfully throughout the legal proceedings. He also ruled that since the young driver's apology had been accepted by the Ethiopian woman, there was no need to determine that the driver's offense constituted moral turpitude.
The Jerusalem District Court judge had also under pressure from Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas), with the latter saying that a conviction would ruin Biton's rabbinic future.
The controversial decision could well have ruined Drori's chances of getting himself appointed to the High Court of Justice. [...]