The Distorted Morality of the Israeli Police
By Benzi Gopstein, head of Lehava, for the Charedi publication B’chadrei Charedim, 23 Tevet 5781/7 January 2021
When the police suspend cops who violated the corona directives, but allowed the cops who are suspected of causing the death of a youth while on the job, it cannot be expected that the public’s trust in the law enforcement system will be restored | Opinion
Last Motzei Shabbat, during a demonstration by thousands in Jerusalem who were protesting the death of Ahuvya Sandak z”l and calling on the government to do justice and form an independent, external commission of inquiry that would conduct an in-depth investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death and bring about justice to the 17 y.o. boy who was unjustly killed, News 12 reported that the files against the cops who were involved in the chase after the car where Ahuvya was sitting before he met his death – will be closed by the Police Investigation Dept. (PID), while against Ahuvya’s friends, who were with him in the car, charges will be filed.
During the week, allegations of a whitewash and corruption by the police and the PID in the investigation of Ahuvya’s death, were confirmed: The deputy head of PID, Atty. Moshe Sa’adeh, wrote a sharply worded letter to Mumi Lemberger, deputy Attorney General, where he pointed out serious failures and omissions that occurred during investigation of the file. Among other things: Obstruction of justice by the cops, the PID head’s completely ignoring the claims of the boys that the cops murdered their friend, and the establishment of a joint investigative team of the PID and the police. And in Sa’adeh’s language: “The PID doesn’t bother to do even the minimum that is required of them in a file on causing the death of a minor and violence towards detainees”. So far, by the way, the PID hasn’t even bothered to collect testimony from the boys.
Instead of doing the most obvious thing – to immediately suspend the cops involved in Ahuvya’s death from their jobs at least until the end of the investigation, and thus trying to restore a little of the public’s trust in them, the police struck up a media campaign whose purpose is to blacken the faces of the hilltop youth and the settlers. Unnamed security officials have granted briefings that “we are facing an escalation”, claiming that “the police are not succeeding in controlling the violence of the hilltop youth.”
Last night, on the other hand, in another incident, the top police brass decided to immediately transfer cops who are suspected of committing an offense, pending clarification on their matter. Obviously, you guessed it, this is a very serious offense; so serious, even more so than a suspicion of involvement in causing the death of a young boy, that forced the police to act that way. So what was the serious crime that the suspended cops committed? The crime is, ladies and gentlemen – violation of corona restrictions: Police who were called upon to enforce restrictions at a wedding in which hundreds of Chassidim participated in Beitar Illit, allowing the wedding to go on, and a police officer was even filmed as he was getting a blessing from the Chassidim’s Chief Rabbi. Those cops, too, by the way, like the cops who were involved in Ahuvya’s death, belong to the Shai district. Immediately after this became known and published with photos, the acting Chief of Police ordered the suspension of the cops from their jobs. The district commander said that he “views these things with utmost severity”.
It seems, if this is true, that in the eyes of the top brass of the Israeli police, breaking the corona rules is something that’s many times more serious than causing the death of a boy. Excuse me, a hilltop boy. If he were a boy from Ra’anana or Tel Aviv, it’s logical that what’s left of the police’s common sense would have worked, and the District Commander would have said then, too, that he “views these things with utmost severity”. But from the police’s point of view, the blood of the hilltop youth is already not even cheap: it’s allowed to be shed by any and every cop; the hilltop youth are the enemy, and we of the Israeli police should fight against them.
Did we say ‘distorted morality’ already???