Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Monday, December 28, 2020, 17:09 Rape cases? Agricultural crime? Arab assaults on construction inspectors? A report recently published by the Lavi Civil Rights Organization reveals that the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police, the unit charged with handling serious crime, almost never handled cases of those types. In contrast, the unit devoted significantly greater resources to matters concerning hilltop youth. The poster at the right announces demonstrations which were held on December 23, in protest of the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, a hilltop resident, in a police car chase in the Binyamin region. The Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police is responsible for handling serious crime in the Yehuda and Shomron District and is considered the “elite unit” of the district. However, findings in a report by the Lavi Civil Rights Organization on crime cases handled from 2018 to 2019 on cases of assault by crime organizations and cases of weapons smuggling at the Allenby Crossing, indicate severe deficiencies in the functioning of the unit with regards to serious crime in the district, despite consistent treatment of closed military zone and house arrest violations by hilltop youth. For example, in the years 2018 and 2019, police stations in the Yehuda and Shomron District handled 156 rape cases, whereas the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police handled only one rape case. During the same two years, the unit did not handle any agricultural crime cases, despite 500 such cases handled by the other police stations in the district. During the years 2017 and 2018, police stations in the Yehuda and Shomron District handled 700 cases of assault on construction inspectors by Arabs and cases of weapons smuggling at the Allenby Crossing, versus the five such cases handled by the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police. These findings contrast conspicuously with the considerably different treatment of hilltop youth by the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police: The unit handled 107 cases of closed military zone and house arrest violations by hilltop youths. Furthermore, the 2018 State Comptroller report revealed that the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police lost intelligence information on the handling of weapons in the district and did not transfer it to additional districts. In the report, the State Comptroller defined the Yehuda and Shomron District as a “waterfall of crime” from which illegal weapons flow to all regions of Israel. The Lavi Civil Rights Organization report was published shortly after the death of Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, in a police car chase in the Binyamin region. Following the incident, prominent rabbis and other public figures called for an external committee to investigate the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police. Additionally, the council heads in Yehuda and Shomron sent a letter to Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana demanding that a committee be founded to renew public trust in the police. See here for a list of posts connected to the Ahuvia Sandak, z”l, case.