Shani Zanu suffered face and eye injuries when the bus she was travelling on was stoned while passing by Arab towns in the Wadi Ara region on December 7th. The police investigation was closed less than two weeks after the incident.
The incident took place shortly after US President Donald Trump's controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Shani, who was in the midst of her National Service year in Jerusalem, was riding bus line 959 from Jerusalem to Afula when the incident occurred.
She was sitting in the back seat, not near the window and slept through most of the ride. "When the bus made stops in Wadi Ara the driver put on the interior lights when suddenly I heard a crash and felt something hit my face. I did not understand what had happened at first, then I saw one of my friends holding a large stone and I understood that it had been thrown at me," Shani recalled,
"Other passengers offered me assistance; they gave me water and tried to stop the bleeding. The driver stopped the bus at the next station but the police told him to continue driving to the police station in Ein Iron. From there, I was taken in a private Arab ambulance to Haemek Medical Center in Afula," she continued.
After receiving stitches, the x-ray revealed bone fractures in her eye socket and jaw. She went on to undergo three surgeries at Rambam Hospital in Haifa and is still on the long road to recovery. She does not know when she will be able to continue her National Service.
After the incident, Shani testified and filed a police report. To her surprise, at the beginning of January, she was notified that her case was closed only 11 days after the incident. The investigating officer wrote: "Unknown assailant" as the reason for shutting the case.
Shani's father turned to the right wing legal aid organization Honenu which in turn appealed the case closing and asked that it be reopened. The Honenu attorney Haim Bleicher said that the case was handled quite unreasonably. "This was no less than an act of attempted murder on racial-nationalist grounds. The investigation requires the full efforts of the police, and intelligence units including the Shin Bet so that the terrorists can be speedily locked up."
The attorney added that a case as severe as this one, where a bus travelling on a main Israeli highway was attacked by stones, must not be dismissed so quickly, only 11 days afterwards. "We are asking of the police and security agencies to do everything possible to apprehend the terrorists and thereby prevent additional attacks."
The police say that during the investigation, suspects were arrested but released shortly after for lack of evidence. They claim they took many measures in an effort to solve the case but due to a lack of progress, the case was closed. Now, in light of the appeal, the case is being re-examined.