Police officer pulls gun on Haredi protesters
After drawing weapon on ultra-Orthodox demonstrators, officer heard saying 'Anyone wants to get a bullet?'; Israel Police says violent protesters crowded around officer's vehicle, rocking it, blocking its path and throwing stones at it; cop was nevertheless called to explain his actions to his commanders.
A police officer drew his handgun and threatened ultra-Orthodox protesters during demonstrations against Haredi IDF draft on Monday night.
A video of the incident shows the officer drawing the weapon and then asking: "Anyone wants to get a bullet?"
Several dozens of ultra-Orthodox protesters rioted on the corner of Sarei Israel Boulevard and Yaffo Street in Jerusalem late Monday, briefly blocking the light rail's path. Some hurled abuse at the police officers, calling them "Nazis."
Police arrested eight protesters and dispersed the crowds, reopening the street.
According to the Israel Police, an initial investigation found that the police officer, who was driving in the Bar Ilan area, came upon a violent group of protesters.
"They crowded around him, threw stones and other objects at the police car and blocked its path, all the while advancing on him in a threatening manner, rocking the car and hurling abuse at him. At a certain point, the officer felt threatened and tried to distance them from the scene," a police statement said.
The officer was summoned before his commanders on Monday night to explain the incident and the circumstances behind it.
Other demonstrations were held in Beit Shemesh, where several dozens of Haredim blocked Nehar HaYarden Street, and in Bnei Brak, where ultra-Orthodox protesters briefly blocked Rabbi Akiva Street. Some of the protesters assaulted police officers on the scene, and four of them were arrested and taken for questioning.
The demonstrations were organized by "The Committee to Save the World of Torah" following the arrest of two yeshiva students from the Jerusalem Faction, who were discovered to be army deserters in a routine police check. In addition, the Haredim are coming out against a sentence given to two draft dodgers of 20 days in military prison.
According to a call to arms issued by the committee, "The committee's leaders visited the home of the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, may he live a good long life, who ordered them to make noise over the arrest of the delightful young men who have been arrested for studying the Torah."
Another group that works to oppose Haredi draft to the IDF said, "The entire Haredi public has grown tired of the hopeless attempts to turn its sons into soldiers and the attempts to disrupt the Haredi lifestyle over interests foreign to the sector. The young Haredi men's place is not in the IDF, nor in any other military, and it is embarrassing to see how the authorities and the elected officials of the State of Israel fail time and again to understand this. The fight against the draft is an existential war for the Haredi public."
This isn't the first instance of police brutality at a Haredi protest. Last month, one officer was caught on camera shoving one protester to the ground. Other officers were caught on camera kicking protesters, pulling them forcefully, strangling them, stepping over them and dragging them violently.
A 16-year-old boy was moderately hurt in a protest, suffering a head injury and internal bleeding, while a 17-year-old boy was lightly hurt.