Central District Police: Ra’anana attack was an “altercation”

One of the victims; Photo credit: Free use

Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 12:19 Soon after an early December attack on two Jewish workers at a construction site in Ra’anana, Honenu sent a letter to the Central District Commander of the Israel Police, Major-General Avraham Biton, demanding an investigation, with the involvement of the GSS. The Central District Police replied that the incident was an “altercation in which the sides involved with it and responsible for it had a disagreement”.

In response, Honenu leveled sharp criticism at the police and Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the victims, stated, “It is unfortunate that the Central District Police are allowing a failure to continue by referring to an attempted murder by a mob as an ‘altercation’. Almost a month has passed since the attack, and the victims have not yet been summoned to a police line-up to identify the terrorists, even though the details of the people who were on the scene can be easily verified. The more time passes and the terrorists have not been detained, the bigger the failure of the police is and the more the security of Israeli citizens is abandoned. We call on the police to come to their senses.”

The letter sent to the Central District Commander is summarized below:

The two Jewish workers arrived at the construction site in Ra’anana to work, carrying their equipment. They asked to enter the elevator at the site. Initially, the elevator operator refused and blocked their entry with his body. After they pleaded with him, and explained that they had been waiting for a long time, he eventually moved and allowed them to enter.

When they entered the elevator, three Arab workers were already inside. The elevator started its ascent with the two victims, the Arab workers and the Arab elevator operator. The workers harassed, shoved, and beat the victims. After several minutes, the elevator stopped and the two victims attempted to escape as soon as it opened. However, the elevator operator took a long metal rod and threw it at them. The rod hit the wall hard, ricocheted, and hit the elevator operator in the head.

The two victims said that at this stage they tried to get away again and called the site managers for assistance in extricating themselves from the situation. Simultaneously, a mob of workers started to gather around them from throughout the site, including from various places in the building under construction. Some of the workers held tools and pieces of metal, anything they could grab.

The two victims shouted in an attempt to deter the mob from approaching them. Then they noticed one of the site managers, Baha, approaching them. They called out to him for him to have his workers stop injuring them, but to their shock, he took a shovel and started to attack them himself.

Immediately after that, dozens of violent assailants attacked them, beating them all over their bodies with whatever objects they were holding. One of the victims was spared a head injury due to the protective helmet he was wearing. The other victim was also wearing a helmet, but the assailants succeeded in removing it and beat his head with metal objects. The mob continued to viciously beat them with their fists and the metal objects. The blows came incessantly from all directions and the victims felt as if they were experiencing the last moments of their lives. The victims saw the hate-filled bloodthirsty eyes of the attackers, whose murderous looks are firmly engraved in their memories.

The arrival of the victims’ work manager, who was armed, ended the horror. The violent assailants, who until that moment had not had any intent of stopping the beating, noticed the work manager holding his pistol and started to run away.

The injured victims were evacuated to the hospital with bruises all over their bodies. One of them was released after several hours and immediately went to the K’far Saba Police Station to file a complaint. He was surprised when the interrogations officer ordered him to be interrogated under warning, and then placed him under five days of house arrest.

The other victim suffered four deep cuts and several bruises to his head. The following day, he was released from the hospital to recuperate at home. Due to the severity of his injuries, he was readmitted to the hospital. When he went to the Kfar Saba Police Station to file a complaint, he was also interrogated under warning, and then placed under five days of house arrest.

To the best of Honenu’s knowledge, none of the assailants have been detained, and despite the length of time that has passed, the victims have not been brought in to identify their assailants in a police line-up, even though they informed their interrogators that they are able to identify many of them. Additionally, the Electra Company has a list of everyone who was present at the construction site at the time of the incident.

It appears that this serious incident has not merited a thorough and intensive investigation, as it should have. Moreover, apparently the police investigation is focusing on whether or not there was a fight in the elevator, and is almost completely ignoring the violent mob attack, in which dozens of assailants, who were not connected at all to the attack in the elevator, took part. This incident could have easily ended with the death of the two victims. Even if there is not enough evidence to determine which of the testimonies of what happened in the elevator is correct, the much more serious part of the incident, the violent mob attack with dozens of participants acting together, must be thoroughly investigated as the focus of the investigation.

Likewise, one must not ignore the fact that the assailants were Arabs, who acted together to seriously injure two Jewish workers. Therefore, there are grounds for suspecting that a racist motive brought the crowd to act together, without any prior agreement.

An incident of this scale, with all due respect to the local police department, should be transferred for investigation to the Central Unit of the Central District Police and to the GSS, as the authority responsible for protecting the public from violence motivated by nationalistic racism. I ask his honor to order the Central Unit of the Central District Police to immediately take on the investigation of this case, to detain the assailants, and to prosecute them to the full extent of the law.

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