Reuter and AP   Globe and Mail   02-Dec-1988   Yisrael Yehezkeli attacks Yoram Sheftel
Acid hurled on
lawyer for Nazi

Reuter and AP
Yisrael Yehezkeli
Yisrael Yehezkeli

A Holocaust survivor hurled acid in the face of an Israeli lawyer for convicted Nazi murderer John Demjanjuk at a funeral yesterday for another Demjanjuk lawyer who died in an apparent suicide, police said.

The injured lawyer, Yoram Sheftel, was reported in satisfactory condition at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital eye unit, where he was transferred for treatment after the incident.

The lawyer complained of blurred vision and pain in his left eye and will be kept under observation for several days, Hadassah spokesman Ruth Mekel said.

A woman standing near Mr. Sheftel, identified by Israel Radio as author Edma Shabtai, suffered a minor eye injury from the acid.

Police identified the assailant as Yisrael Yehezkeli, 70, who was detained after the attack at Jerusalem's Sanhedria Cemetery.

Reporters who covered the 14-month Demjanjuk trial said Mr. Yehezkeli was a frequent spectator.

The police officials said Mr. Yehezkeli apparently was upset about the suicide of Mr. Demjanjuk's lawyer, Dov Eitan, who was buried yesterday.  Mr. Eitan, 53, leaped to his death Tuesday from the 15th floor of Jerusalem's tallest office block.  He left no suicide note.

A photographer at the funeral said: "They were taking out the body.  The man threw some kind of bottle filled with acid.  It broke against the wall and acid splattered all over."

Israelis have voiced resentment that Jewish lawyers would defend a suspected Nazi war criminal.  Mr. Demjanjuk, 68, was sentenced to death in April for atrocities against Jews at Treblinka death camp in Poland during the Second World War.

The burly Mr. Demjanjuk was deported to Israel from the United States, where he settled after the war.  A retired auto worker and grandfather, he would be the first Nazi war criminal hanged in Israel since mass murderer Adolf Eichmann in 1962.

On Wednesday, Israel's Supreme Court put off until May a hearing on Mr. Demjanjuk's appeal against the verdict and death sentence.  The hearing, due to start next week, was delayed to allow the defence to reorganize following Mr. Eitan's death.