Jewish Journal

Israeli court sentences Birthright assailant


January 25, 2011 | 10:48 am

A New Jersey man who assaulted a fellow Birthright Israel participant was sentenced to time served and community service.

Jonathan Haft, 25, was convicted Monday in Israel of aggravated assault for attacking Sherry Kestenbaum, 23, also of New Jersey, last May. He was sentenced to to 2 1/2 months in prison and six months of community service. The prison time has already been served.

Haft also was ordered to pay Kestenbaum about $55,000 in compensation, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Since his release from prison, Haft has been under house arrest at a hotel in Rishon Lezion, the Post reported.

Haft, a martial arts expert, attacked Kestenbaum on May 31 in the hallway of a hotel at a kibbutz guest house near the Dead Sea after she rebuffed his advances, according to reports. Her injuries included multiple broken facial bones, loss of teeth and severe chest contusions that brought on pneumonia.

Kestenbaum told the New York Post Monday that she is afraid Haft will come after her to “finish the job” after he serves his community service time in Israel.

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