Rabbi Elyashiv HaCohen assaulted by police in Old City J’lem

Saturday (after Shabbat), May 28, 2022, 21:44 On Shabbat, Rabbi Elyashiv HaCohen was on his way to the Western Wall with his family when he was blocked by policemen near Sha’ar Yafo (Jaffa Gate). The policemen forbade Rabbi HaCohen and his family to take a shortcut to the Western Wall. Rabbi HaCohen objected, pointing out that Arabs, tourists, and anyone who did not have a religious appearance were allowed to pass, whereas his family was blocked. Policemen then jumped on Rabbi HaCohen, beat him, and detained him in front of his children. His son, who protested the detention was also assaulted and detained by the policemen. After Shabbat, Honenu Attorney Daniel Shimshilashvili went to the police station to assist Rabbi HaCohen and his son.

Note that Rabbi HaCohen, the head of Yeshivat Hadera and an officer in the IDF Reserve Corps, is a well-known and respected public figure. He is the son-in-law of Rabbi Drukman, the son of Rabbi Yedaiya HaCohen, ztz”l, and the brother of Rabbi Re’em HaCohen and Major-General Gershon HaCohen (res.).

Rabbi HaCohen’s daughter, Zimrat HaCohen, who was present during the incident related: “We arrived at the Old City, the entire family, children, women, and everybody. We were on our way to the Western Wall. At some point, policemen blocked us and didn’t let us pass on the shortcut to the Western Wall, while they were allowing many others to pass – tourists, Arabs, non-religious, anyone who wasn’t wearing Shabbat clothes and didn’t have a religious appearance. Abba (Dad) respectfully objected to their discrimination against us. At some point, several policemen jumped on him, knocked him to the ground, kicked him, punched him in the stomach and head; one of them really choked him.

“The entire family objected. We told them that he hadn’t done anything to them. Abba told them that he was an officer in the reserves, how could they treat him like this. None of us, including Abba, used any force on them. We only asked that they stop. We objected to what they were doing to him. At some point, they jumped on my brother also and knocked him to the ground. They choked him too. He could barely breathe, and they punched and kicked him. The policemen also refused to identify themselves. They loaded my brother into a police car, and they took Abba to a police station and beat him on the way. This is simply a disgrace. The policemen behaved like criminals, real thugs. They beat him without knowing why. Unbelievable,” added Zimrat.

Member of Knesset Orit Struk leveled strong criticism at the policemen for their actions: “There is no doubt that the Jerusalem Police showed a lack of restraint at this violent detention and a lack of reasonable consideration with their decision to prevent the passage of Jews bearing a religious appearance on their way to the Western Wall. I expect the [Jerusalem] District Commander to get personally involved with this incident immediately, to release the rabbi and his son, to apologize, and to suspend the violent policemen until the completion of an investigation by the PIU [Police Investigation Unit].”

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