Daily Israel Report

Video Shows Shooting of Rabbi Mertzbach

Channel 2 airs security video footage showing IDF soldier mistakenly firing at rabbi's car.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/19/2013, 9:15 PM

Rabbi Mertzbach z"l
Rabbi Mertzbach z"l
Flash 90

Channel 2 TV has aired security video footage showing an IDF soldier mistakenly firing at Rabbi Dan Mertzbach's car 18 months ago, fatally injuring him.

The tragic event took place in the early morning hours of November 11, 2011. IDF soldiers in the south Hevron area were placed on alert and told to watch out for a Skoda-type car and stop it.

The video shows the soldiers setting up a roadblock, but the Skoda can be seen passing them, apparently without being noticed. Fifteen seconds later, Rabbi Mertzbach's car appears.

The IDF investigation found that the soldiers tried to get Rabbi Mertzbach to stop his car by waving their arms and flashing a flashlight, but when he failed to do so they opened fire. A soldier can be seen firing at the car.

The soldier fired eight bullets, which killed the rabbi. The car veered into the guard rail at the right side of the road and then kept going for about 100 meters before stopping.

The Military Prosecution decided not to try the soldier who fired at the car.

The military investigation found that the road block was set up in a faulty way that made it difficult for oncoming cars to see it in time. Instructions to IDF soldiers manning roadblocks were changed following the incident and they may no longer fire at a vehicle that ignores a roadblock unless it endangers them.

Initial statements by the military following the incident blamed the slain rabbi for knowingly driving through the roadblock. These claims have been refuted. The rabbi drove that road at the same hour every morning and was accustomed to waving at the soldiers and continuing on his way uninterrupted. He was unable to see the roadblock in time.