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  • Uri DeYoung

Rosh HaAyin resident attacked, then detained


Honenu Atty. Bleicher; Photo credit: Honenu

Tuesday, May 31, 2022, 15:49 On Saturday, May 21, Bedouins attacked a resident of Rosh HaAyin when he and his 13-year-old son were at the JNF forest near the city. As they were photographing the site, the Bedouins gathered around them and threatened them with a knife. The father and his son escaped. Several hours later, the police detained the father, but not any of the assailants. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the victim, wrote a letter to the Central District Police Commander demanding that the assailants be detained and prosecuted and that the criminal record of the victim be expunged.

In his letter, summarized below, Bleicher described the attack and strongly criticized the police:

My client planned to hold a party for children with special needs in this park, and to that end went with his 13-year-old son to see the place. My client stood next to his car and took several photographs. Suddenly, Arabs started to threateningly gather around him, and they shouted at him, "Why are you photographing?"

The father tried to explain the reason for the photography to them, an event for special needs children, but they did not listen. They stood between him and the car in which his son was sitting, pressed up against the car in a threatening manner, and shouted threats such as, "This place is ours, and you [the Jews] don't have any reason to be here." One of the women approached him holding a knife and shouted at him, "We are Bedouins. We'll slaughter you."

The father felt that his life and his son's life were in immediate danger. He remembered that his son's toy gun was in the car, took it, and put it in his waistband behind his back. This simple act caused the threatening mob to back up a bit, which allowed him to get into his car and escape. He immediately reported the attack to the police.

Several hours later, policemen arrived at the victim's house and to his shock instead of taking his testimony, detained him for interrogation. Despite his attempts to explain to the policemen what had happened and although his 13-year-old son quoted what the Bedouin woman with the knife had said, the victim was taken, in front of his family, to the police station for interrogation.

The interrogator claimed that the father was lying because he had not phoned the police at the time of the attack. The victim, shocked once again, showed the policeman the call in his phone log. Then the interrogator claimed that he had called and immediately disconnected to give the impression that he was reporting an incident. The victim showed the interrogator a reply message from the police following the call and his phone was taken for examination. Only then did the police inform him that they had located his call reporting the incident to the 100 emergency number.

Although the matter was straightened out, and it was expected that the police would then detain the assailants, the father's fingerprints and profile photographs were taken, as if he were the worst criminal. He was also required to sign a high bail bond and forbidden to contact those involved with the incident (the Bedouin assailants), with whom he was completely unacquainted.

The injustice of this unfolding of events is indescribable. A family who went out to plan a community event encountered criminal, violent, and dangerous opposition by Bedouins who threatened my client's life. This criminally violent incident has strategic consequences for Israeli citizens. Delays in handling complaints and stiffly penalizing criminals allow the continuing deterioration of the personal security of Israeli citizens.

Moreover, the victim of the horrific attack – not any of the assailants – was detained and treated as if he were a criminal, although he had defended his life. The police did not defend the victim in this case, and their general conduct deprives citizens of any possibility of them defending themselves.

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