Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 12:43 In mid-September, a family returning home to Gush Shilo after harvesting dates in the Jordan Valley encountered a terrorist ambush: A barricade of boulders blocked their car and then terrorists threw rocks at them. The front windshield was shattered and serious damage was caused to the rest of the car by approximately ten large rocks. The parents and their four children, aged nine, five, three, and approximately one and a half, were miraculously uninjured. However, the father was forced to fire into the air in order to drive away the terrorists. On Monday, September 21, when the father went to the Binyamin Police Station to file a complaint against the terrorists, to his great surprise he was interrogated under warning and a criminal case was opened against him for firing into the air.
Damage to the car; Video credit: Free use
The mother, Ranana, described the attack (See here for more details.): “There was a cliff to our right and a chasm to our left. … And then suddenly… ‘Oy, no!!!! rocks,’ I screamed so that Uri [my husband] would stop. Uri slowed down. There were huge boulders on the road, right in front of us. There was no way to pass them… So we stopped. What should we do?? Backing up in the dark in our large car on a narrow road was impossible. A split second later and… Boom!!! Boom!!! Boom!!! Rocks hit the car. Boom!!! The car shook with every hit. The right side of the car took rock after rock.
“Suddenly there was a different sound. ??? The front windshield was shattered. … Behind me the children screamed in panic. I shouted to them, ‘Hands over your head! Get your heads down! Mom and Dad will deal with it. Don’t worry!’
“‘Whom should I call?’ asked. ‘The ravshatz [head of security]?’
“‘No,’ said Uri. ‘The moked [local security headquarters]. Only the moked. They’ll send whoever is necessary.’
“Boom!!! next to the window where our little Chen, a year and a half old, was sleeping. She woke up screaming at the top of her lungs.’
Uri was forced to fire a warning shot into the air and then the terrorists fled to their village. After the family called the local security headquarters, they cleared the boulders from the road and continued driving. As they drove, the family discovered that more boulders had been scattered on the road. “They had set a death trap!! Exactly that. It was a miracle that we got out alive,” said Ranana.
Ranana described their report of the attack at the Binyamin Police Station: “We arrived together at the police station, and then the policemen turned to Uri, ‘Do you want to speak to a lawyer before we start the interrogation?’ What? Investigation??? ‘For what ??,’ we asked. The policeman replied, ‘That you’ll hear at the interrogation itself… You used a weapon.’”
“We were stunned and shocked. Speechless. We’d been barraged with rocks! We fired one shot into the air in self-defense and they want to interrogate us and open a criminal case over it!? What’s happening here?? We expected sympathy and encouragement from the police for what we had done, to receive the form [for declaring damages] and to continue on with the bureaucracy until we succeeded in repairing what the terrorists had done. And now they’ve turned Uri into a criminal?? A criminal case??”
At the police station, Honenu Attorney Nati Rom assisted the father, who was unconditionally released after interrogation. Yisrael Ganz, the Head of the Binyamin Regional Council, also assisted the father and contacted police officials, which facilitated his quick release.
Honenu Attorney Nati Rom: “Victims of terror, a family that escaped an ambush, should not be treated like criminals, requiring counsel from an attorney because a case was opened against them. They should receive all the help and assistance they need from the Israeli Police. It’s all backwards. Every night, in all the Arab villages in the Yehuda and Shomron regions, there is massive gunfire, and the Israeli Police do nothing. But when a Jew is forced to defend his life, with one lone shot, according to the law, he’s interrogated. It’s absurd. The presumption that a Jew who opens fire is a criminal must be eradicated.”
In May 2020, Honenu launched a campaign to put a stop to rock and Molotov cocktail throwing attacks. The organization calls on on everyone who has experienced an attack to contact their headquarters so that the terrorists can be brought to trial. For a selection of cases in which Honenu Attorneys have represented victims of rock or Molotov cocktail attacks, please see here.