Police compensation for arrest of Jew at Temple Mount entrance

Jerusalem Magistrate Court orders police to pay 10,000 shekels to man dragged from the Temple Mount by his pants.

Eliran Aharon ,

Yair Kehati
Yair Kehati
Arutz Sheva

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ordered the police to pay NIS 10,000 ($2,760) to the family of a young Jewish man who was arrested at the gate to the Temple Mount.

Yair Kehati was seen on video being arrested at the Temple Mount gate and dragged along the street with the policeman holding the belt of his trousers.

The incident took place about two and a half years ago when Kehati came to pray at the Cotton Gate, one of the gates of the Temple Mount. After completing his prayer, two girls arrived at the scene, asking the police to enter the Temple Mount compound through the gate. After the police refused the girls' request, Kehati pulled out a camera to take pictures of what was going on. All this time, a policeman asked him to move away, claiming he was blocking the passage.

Kehati refused several times until the policeman told him he was under arrest and he was taken to the nearby police station. According to Kehati, the policeman dragged him, holding his belt for about 300 meters, in front of passersby in the street. According to Kehati, there was no legal reason for the policeman's request to leave, so no police officer explained why he should leave and he remained near the gate.

Kehati filed a complaint with the Police Internal Investigations Department against the policeman, but the department decided to close the file. An appeal was filed with the State Attorney's Office on the matter, but that appeal was rejected as well. Kehati submitted a civil complaint in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court with attorney Moshe Yaddo from the Honenu legal organization. During the hearings, the police claimed that there was a police order permitting the police to drag a detainee by his pants, but throughout the hearing the police did not present any evidence proving the existence of the order.

During the hearing, attorney Yaddo proved that there are clear procedures guiding the prohibitions of how police are supposed to treat detainees, the right to human dignity and liberty, and also proved that in this case the police violated the rules. In addition, during the cross-examination by attorney Yaddo, the policeman said that he did not remember the directive the police had claimed existed.

In her ruling, the judge ruled that the plaintiff was not held in custody, but he was led in a public place while violating his dignity, especially with respect to humiliation and contempt. In addition, the judge ruled that there was no order authorizing the police to drag a detainee by his pants at the time of arrest. "My conclusion is, therefore, that the restriction in a public place was unlawful, since this is an unreasonable and disproportionate decision by the police to [drag the detainee this way] for 200-300 meters. Therefore, the plaintiff is entitled to compensation."

The Honenu organization claimed that the verdict clearly shows, and not for the first time, the lack of functioning in the Police Internal Investigations Department and the internal control bodies inside the police.

Attorney Yaddo responded to the verdict: "The victory in the suit is pleasing, but certainly not enough. We want to receive from the Israel Police a response as to who is responsible for this act, who will be held accountable for this act, who will be held responsible for this act. And it is not enough for me that the taxpayer spends NIS 10,000 to compensate the injured person. Someone in the police force should also be held accountable."

The Israeli police said in response, "The suspect was arrested in 2016, after he violated public order in the area, provoking the police's orders to stop his actions." The court rejected his claims regarding the legality of the detention and ruled that the detention was lawful. The Israel Police will not allow blatant public disturbance by any person, and will continue to enforce the law with determination and at the same time ensure the dignity and rights of detainees wherever they may be."