Bringing Together Religious Youths, Police

Israel Police hold "ice breaker" event at the Sha'alvim hesder yeshiva, in order to build confidence between police and religious public.

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Elad Benari & Hezki Baruch,

Police officers and yeshiva students
Police officers and yeshiva students
Israel news photo: Hezki Ezra

The Israel Police held an event this past Tuesday at the Sha’alvim hesder yeshiva. The event was attended by 400 high school students, who received a training seminar on traffic control and forensic science. The students also saw a display of the various departments of the police, including its counter-terrorism unit, forensics, canine unit and more.

The event was part of a series of events held by the police for the religious Zionist population meant to “break the ice” and attempt to rebuild confidence between the religious Zionist population and the police, following events such as the expulsion from Gush Katif in which there were instances of police brutality towards demonstrators, and police interrogations of rabbis, all of which have caused the religious Zionists to feel estranged and distrustful of the law enforcement agencies.

It was held before police on Wednesday violently arrested a group of Yesha residents who were living in Kiryat Moshe, Jerusalem, allegedly throwing some out the window, after the courts banished them from their homes.

“We see great importance in this day, in bringing hearts closer, in bringing back the mutual trust between the police and the religious-Zionist youth,” Brigadier General Shimon Ben Harush, the Shfela District commander, told Arutz Sheva. “There have been quite a few crises, and mostly a crisis of faith, between this public and the Israel Police. I think this day should be a first step and that following it the ice will be broken, the barriers will fall and we, as one nation, will understand the goal and the purpose of the Israel Police as a public service.”

He added, “I think the public is intelligent enough to know how to separate between the extreme incidents and the mainstream police officers.  I think that the Israel Police, as an organization, has the job of serving and it does it faithfully, out of a sense of mission. Even if there are some exceptions, I’m sure that we’ll find the way to overcome these obstacles, take care of the exceptions and concentrate on what’s important.”

Rabbi Gershon Shachor, Head of the Sha’alvim Yeshiva, said that it was important that the religious public see all the positive things that the police do, such as keeping the streets safe at night. He said that this understanding will lead to a “real discussion” between the sides.

“Once we understand what the police do, we’ll talk about the events in Amona [where cases of police brutality were filmed, ed.] and all the other events,” he said. “Then the discussion will be real.”