Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher; Photo credit: Honenu
Friday, September 11, 2020, 11:50 Approximately one year ago, when A. was returning by bus from a public celebration in memory of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) in Meron to the Tzfat Central Bus Station, he was assaulted by a bus field supervisor who also stole his phone when he tried to document the incident. A. filed a complaint for assault with the Tzfat Police, however the case was closed. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher filed an appeal to reopen the case, but never received a reply from the police. Now, after a year has passed, it turned out that the police did reopen the case, but only briefly and they did not inform either the complainant or his attorney. Recently Bleicher filed an additional appeal to reopen the investigation and also filed a complaint with the officer in charge of public complaints. Continue reading for details of the assault and of the case. During the ride from Meron to Tzfat an argument regarding at which bus stations to stop in Tzfat arose between the passengers and the driver. Then an Arab field supervisor arrived and assaulted one of the passengers. The complaint filed with the officer in charge of public complaints states that A. remarked to the field supervisor that his behavior was inappropriate for his job. At this stage the supervisor hit and shoved A. Then “the field supervisor, the assailant, took out a dark black object and threatened and shoved other passengers.” A. tried to photograph the incident with his cell phone, but “the field supervisor jumped on my client and attempted to grab the cell phone from his hand. My client kept his grasp, but then the supervisor knocked my client onto the floor and beat him all over his body, kicking and punching. Another Arab joined in the assault and also beat my client.” At this point the supervisor grabbed A.’s cell phone and fled the scene. Other passengers summoned the police and MDA medics. A. filed a complaint at the Tzfat Police Station. Later, A., his mother and Bleicher contacted the Tzfat Police by various means to check the progress of the investigation and were surprised to discover that the case had been closed. Bleicher filed an appeal to reopen the case and requested the results of the investigation. The police did not respond. When A.’s mother went to the police station and requested the results of the investigation she was treated disrespectfully. After a year had passed, Bleicher requested information from the Attorney General’s office about the case and was surprised to discover that it had been opened, and therefore his appeal had been unnecessary. However the case was closed without A., his family or his attorney being informed of either the reopening or the closing. In the complaint that he filed with the officer of public complaints, Bleicher noted that “the conduct of the police regarding the appeal raises a serious concern that no investigation was carried out beyond receiving the complaint and that the entire reason for reopening the case was to create a distraction from the appeal.” Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher emphasized that “my client was severely assaulted and his cell phone was stolen. He complained to the police with the expectation that they were the proper authority to handle this serious matter. Unfortunately it turned out that the investigators rushed to close the case and avoid its investigation.” In conclusion, Bleicher demanded that the officer in charge of public complaints investigate the conduct of the police and inform him of the steps that had been taken regarding everyone involved with the flawed handling of the case. Bleicher also demanded that the investigation be reopened by a different police unit which is neither involved with the case nor has an interest in the case.