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Court censures 50 minute police response time


Honenu Attorney Nati Rom; Photo credit: Honenu


For more posts about Arab rioting and Jewish detainees, please see here. Thursday, May 20, 2021, 8:51 Yesterday (Wednesday) Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Shmuel Herbst accepted the appeal filed by Honenu Attorney Nati Rom on behalf of eight Jews detained after defending themselves from an attacking mob in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of Jerusalem the previous Sunday, before the Shavuot holiday. The eight detainees were driving to a Jewish-owned house in Beit Hanina. When they reached the neighborhood, rioting Arabs pelted them with various objects, including stones, boulders, and fireworks. They called the police, but the first policeman took almost an hour to arrive. In the meantime, they were forced to defend their lives by firing into the air to chase away the rioters. When the police arrived, they detained all eight victims of the attack, including a minor, and took them to the police station. The police demanded conditions for their release, including house arrest and distancing from Jerusalem. Yesterday a court deliberation was held on the appeal filed by Rom, who is representing the eight detainees, to cancel the restrictions. At the deliberation, Judge Herbst described the severity of the attack based on eyewitness testimonies from the policemen: “Dozens of rioters, who burned garbage cans and blocked the street with them… fired a massive volley of fireworks at us and also hurled stones and Molotov cocktails. … A pipe bomb was thrown at us which exploded close to the forces without injuries…” Judge Herbst leveled criticism at the police: “One cannot have it both ways – on one hand saying that the correct and proper way is to call and summon the Israeli Police, and on the other, [letting victims] wait over 50 minutes for the policemen to arrive when rocks, fireworks and a pipe bomb are being thrown.” Judge Herbst also responded to the claim by the police that the detainees should have fled: “I am not willing to accept a legal and moral approach, according to which the attacked must flee a site because of the acts of the attacker.” The judge compared the situation with placing the blame on a man with a wallet full of cash who was robbed while walking in a neighborhood rife with pickpockets because he had not fled the scene. In his decision, Judge Herbst partially accepted the appeal, and canceled the house arrest and the order distancing them from Jerusalem. With regard to the weapon that was confiscated, the judge set a date for its return to the owner, if no additional findings are discovered. Honenu Attorney Nati Rom: “The Israeli Police are unable to contain all of the incidents, but continue to claim that everything is under control. The police, who did not arrive at the scene of a life-threatening attack for 50 minutes, are trying to curtail the ability of citizens to protect themselves. This invalid practice is liable to cost lives.”

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