Ministry of Defense to sue youths who faked kidnapping

The district attorney for the south of Israel on Thursday submitted a lawsuit against Niv Asraf and Eran Nagauker, who in April faked Asraf’s kidnapping. The suit, which was submitted to the Hashalom District Court in Beer Sheva, comes from the police and the Ministry of Defense. The total amount they are being sued for is NIS 625,000.

“Financial damage was caused to the state following the conduct of the defendants, who faked the kidnapping of Asraf in Hevron last Passover and prompted a pointless manhunt by the IDF and police forces,” the charge read.

Asraf put the entire country on edge in April when he decided to fake his own kidnapping, hiding near Kiryat Arba while thousands of police and IDF troops searched for him. His friend Nagauker, who was serving as an NCO in the military at the time, reported Asraf’s false abduction to the police.
After arriving in Kiryat Arba, the two planed how they would fake the disappearance, and looked for a hiding place. Asraf then left for the hiding spot as planned, while leaving his cell phone in the car to prevent his location from being traced.
Nagauker then left Kiryat Arba, stopped on the side of the road, took the air out of the car’s tires, replaced one of the tires with the spare, and turned back to Kiryat Arba.

Upon entering Kiryat Arba, he turned to a police officer who was sitting in his car on the side of the road, and according to the indictment gave a false report in which he stated that his friend has been gone for 30 minutes after he left the car and walked towards an Arab village.

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The officer instructed Nagauker to call 100 (the police emergency call center), which the indictment said he did knowing it was a false report. The two allegedly wanted to induce a large scale reaction from Israel’s security forces, in order to garner massive media coverage.

As a result of Nagauker’s report, the military put into action its emergency procedure, fearing that Asraf had been kidnapped. Thousands of soldiers, several Special Forces units, aircraft, and other technological measures were deployed in the area to search for Asraf.

The army set up several checkpoints in the area, and sweeps were conducted in nearby villages, while restrictions were imposed on local residents. In some cases, clashes broke out where the military was conducting its search for Asraf.

Nagauker later that evening gave another statement to the Hevron police department, wherein he admitted to giving a false report, while being aware of the ongoing search for his friend.

In the months leading up to the incident, Asraf had been partaking in illegal gambling. His gambling habit left him owing a hefty debt to several people, leading him to search for a way out of the debt. That is how he came upon the idea of faking a kidnapping near Hevron, in an attempt to influence the creditors through the media.