No’a Ariel, z”l: “We are acting like battered women”

Thursday, August 4, 2022, 18:51 In the next episode of Testimonies from the Yehuda and Shomron Police, Yitzhar residents No’a, z”l, and Yisrael Ariel continue their description of the humiliating treatment of Yehuda and Shomron residents, particularly hilltop youth, by the police. For the video interview, in Hebrew with Hebrew subtitles, please click here. For the previous episode with the Ariels, please click here: “Five Yasamnikim on a 60-year-old diabetic.”

No’a was a professional puppeteer who used her shows extensively to increase awareness of battered wives syndrome. She compared the relationship between the religious and right-wing sectors and the police to the relationship between a battered wife and her husband: “We love the army and we love the state. We love them. Battered women also very often love their husbands.”

Yisrael spoke about his detention in the middle of the night, after policemen searched the house for his son: “This pleasure [the police have] of arriving at two o’clock in the morning. They always do this. It’s not as if they come sometimes at eight and sometimes at nine and he’s not here, and then they discover that at two at night they’ll find him at home. Their basic approach is that they feel that whoever is standing opposite them isn’t a human being with fundamental rights.”

No’a added, “We are quiet because we love the army and love the state, love. I have worked all my life with battered women. You should know that very often battered women love their husbands. We act like battered women in our relationships with the police, and we say that we deserved it, ‘What should I have done differently? How should I have acted?’ No! There is someone at fault here! And this power of public trust [that the police and army have] is something that must be destroyed.”

The couple spoke about the Ahuvia Sandak case in light of their many years of experience with the Yehuda and Shomron Police.

Yisrael: “What they did to me when they were dealing with an older man, all the more so when they deal with a boy when the rumors about him are that when it comes to this youth, ‘Who knows what they are capable of doing?’ and what plots are going around on their hidden hilltops.”

No’a: “When a policeman stands opposite you, that’s a human being standing opposite you. Sometimes he’s better, and sometimes he’s not as good. The not-as-good policemen gather in the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police. For years they have been habituated to act aggressively without having to pay for their mistakes. And when you don’t pay for a mistake and don’t pay for a mistake, and don’t pay for a mistake, then you get used to using force.

“Ramming a moving vehicle when there is no justification, no existential need, no danger posed, and you don’t even know what he [the driver/passenger] did and if he did anything and maybe there wasn’t anything at all – this is the maliciousness of the system, and the understanding of the policemen is that they will not pay [for their mistakes]. This was not a mistake in the sense that he [the policeman] erroneously collided with him [the driver of Ahuvia Sandak’s car]. He collided with him intentionally. But the cover-up afterward is, in my eyes, the major story, and it’s the story of the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police, and the police in general. The willingness to lie, the willingness to incriminate others.

“The ‘accident’ was manslaughter, and the cover-up is attempted murder, of Ahuvia, and also of the youths who were with him, and also of our entire public, also of the hilltop youth. They [the police] are simply trying to bury us,” concluded No’a, z”l.

The testimony was taken in the framework of the Testimonies from the Yehuda and Shomron Police project by Honenu and Mateh “Yehudi lo horeg Yehudi,” videography and direction by Avraham Shapira and Chen Klein, investigative reporting by Elhanan Gruner. Over the next few weeks, more testimonies about the treatment of Yehuda and Shomron residents by the police and the GSS are expected to be publicized.

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