Meni Naftali, former chief caretaker of the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, was arrested Saturday during a protest outside Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s home. According to eyewitnesses, he was beaten by the police despite not doing anything.
About 40 protestors gathered outside Mandelblit’s home in Petah Tikva on Saturday evening, demanding that he launch a criminal investigation against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his decision to purchase three submarines for the Israeli Navy from a German shipyard.
“The police were impatient,” said director Doron Tsabari, who arrived to document the demonstration. “Without any reason, while he was just standing on the side, five policemen came over and just grabbed Meni Naftali using unexplained violence, jumped him and beat him up in front of everyone while he was on the floor, then they handcuffed him and put him in a police car. He wasn’t speaking or doing anything. I demanded to know why he was arrested, and they said that he had violated the demonstration conditions by using a loudspeaker during the protest. It was an extremely violent show.”
Attorney Daniel Haklai, who represents Naftali together with attorney Yair Yefet, said Saturday that “in light of testimonies that have been sent to me, I am looking into an initial suspicion of alleged police violence against him.”
Attorney Nava Pinchuk-Alexander, Naftali’s representative in his lawsuit against the state over the treatment he received from Prime Minister Netanyahu's wife Sara, was furious. “This arrest is outrageous,” she said.
The Israel Police offered the following response: “During a demonstration in Petah Tikva, the protestors violated its conditions and disregarded the police’s attempts to talk to them. After the protest was declared a forbidden gathering, its organizer was arrested and two other participants were detained for disrupting a policeman performing his duties. The Israel Police will allow the freedom of assembly as long as the protest meets its conditions and the requirements of the law.”