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No detentions yet from brutal Lag B’Omer attack

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

Scene of attack; Photo credit: D.P.
Scene of attack; Photo credit: D.P.

Thursday, June 11, 2020, 14:40 Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher: “The brutal attack occurred on Lag B’Omer. The hareidi worshipers arrived near the village of Beit Jann at a site overlooking the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, which was closed on his yahrzeit due to Coronavirus restrictions. The rioters arrived at the parking area and attacked the worshipers. They beat them, threw rocks at them, shattered their car windows and more. The worshipers were forced to leave the site in a caravan guarded by police. As of now, there are no known detentions of the attackers.” On Lag B’Omer, this year May 11-12, hareidi worshipers, among them elderly, women, and children, who came to pray near Beit Jann at a site overlooking the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, were brutally attacked. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher sent several letters to the police describing the incident and demanding that action be taken to apprehend the assailants. However the police replied that they are unable to identify the assailants according to the testimonies of the complainants and the case was transferred to the field of intelligence. Bleicher sent a third letter with additional testimony from the bus driver who was present during the attack and photographs of the assailants taken by the driver, in which the faces of several of the assailants are visible. According to the driver’s testimony, he waited in his bus, in a parking area near the village of Beit Jann for the worshipers, who were praying nearby. As he was waiting, the assailants arrived in Jeeps and ATVs and on horses, driving and riding wildly. They threatened him, but left him alone after he explained that he was just the bus driver. At this stage, the worshipers returned to the parking area. The driver saw a worshiper knocked to the ground while the assailants kicked and beat him all over his body as they cursed and insulted him and shouted antisemitic statements. The bus driver called the police headquarters and gave them an eye witness report of the attack as it occurred. He requested immediate evacuation of the worshipers and asked the police to send the police helicopters circling over nearby Meron to the site because “there’s a mob here beating Jews to the point of genuine danger to life”. The driver assisted the injured man and saw the rioters shattering car windows in the parking lot and also throwing rocks at his bus. The quick-witted driver managed to photograph the attackers with his Tablet. Despite the driver’s presence during the attack, including his real-time report of the incident, the police did not summon him to give testimony at the police station or request the photographs that he had taken. Bleicher has requested that the police take testimony from the driver and from additional eye witnesses, add the recording of the conversation between the police headquarters and the driver to the investigative file, and form a special investigative team to gather testimonies and evidence in order to bring the rioters to remand. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher: “On Lag B’Omer, near the village of Beit Jann, a cruel pogrom occurred against Jews and their property. Despite the severity of the incident no suspects have been detained as of now and no testimonies have been taken either from the many injured or from witnesses who contacted the police. It cannot be that there are citizens of the State on whom the law is not binding and who do not fear that they will be prosecuted. We will continue to apply pressure and will not let up until there is an investigative team that will locate suspects and detain them, and until the rioters are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

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