pager message used derogatory term for Arabs
Photo: Oren Agmon
MK Jamal Zahalka
Photo: Hagai Aharon
MK Talab El-Sana
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Policeman who called Arabs 'Arabushim' removed from position
Policeman who issued police pager message referring to participants in rally for Islamic Movement by using derogatory term removed from his position but not dismissed from force. MK Zahalka: 'Our problem is not that he said 'Arabushim' but the policies that treat Arab citizens as such'
The policeman who issued a police pager message referring to participants in a rally for the Islamic Movement "Arabushim" was removed from his position by the Israeli Police Chief of Operations, Major General Bertie Ochion. He was removed from his position but was not dismissed from the force.
Arab MK's commended the decision but some did not hide their criticism of the police. Hadash chairman Mohammad Barakeh said that he believes that Internal Security Minister Avi Dicter "did something right but it would have been fitting if he had addressed the issue of Bentzi Sa'an, Director General of his office who he promoted despite negative allusions made by the Or committee and who now has to deal with the Arab public. It is important that Dicter clean the stables within the police but it would be preferable if he started by cleaning the stables in his own office."
MK Jamal Zahalka (NDA) said: "It's good that he was punished but there's not need to get overly excited. Our problem is not that he said "Arabushim" but with the policies that treat Arab citizens as such."
However Ra'am Ta'al chairman MK Ibrahim Sarsur chose to call the decision "brave," adding that "this is a punishment that will deter others. I was to hope that with this begins a process that will put us into touch with the findings that the Adala organization exposed on Monday about Internal Affairs and others. There is no way that the Israeli police and Internal Security Minister won't address these findings seriously. The Or committee is the most important testament to the relations between the state of Israel and the Arab citizens. Dicter's decision is fitting, brave and deserving of praise."
Ra'am Ta'al party faction chairman MK Talab El-Sana says that "the decision to remove him from his position carries the message that expresses contempt from this despicable behavior and this is a message to others as well. So I believe that this sends across an important message, even though I would like to see him dismissed entirely from the police force. Anyone who holds these opinions has no room on the force."
According to El-Sana the decision, in light of the Adala report presented Sunday, "constitutes part of the implementation of the Or committee recommendations in all aspects of the relationship between the police and the Arab public, where is noted that the police sees the Arab public as an enemy. This outlook must be dealt with on the educational level as well. Taking disciplinary action against bad cops also has an educational value and can deter other policemen from racial behavior."
Roee Nahmias contributed to the report.