12 officers suspected of police brutality against haredi rioters

Police department conducting internal investigations against 12 officers accused of using excessive force against haredi protesters.

David Rosenberg ,

Haredi demonstrators in Jerusalem protest draft law
Haredi demonstrators in Jerusalem protest draft law

Twelve police officers are currently under investigation for police brutality and use of excessive force against anti-draft haredi protesters during illegal demonstrations across the country over the past few months.

According to a report by Walla News, the Police Internal Investigations Department, the body charged with probing claims of misconduct by officers, has questioned 12 officers under caution in connection with their behavior during anti-draft protests organized by the Yerushalmi Faction during 2017.

The Yerushalmi Faction, led by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has called for an end to the draft of haredi yeshiva students, and has called on followers not to cooperate with IDF draft boards – even for the purposes of obtaining draft deferments. At present, full-time yeshiva students are able to defer service in the IDF indefinitely, so long as they remain registered in yeshivas.

In recent months, the Yerushalmi Faction has organized a series of demonstrations across the country, protesting the arrest of haredi draft-dodgers, many of whom intentionally failed to register for draft deferments.

Many demonstrators have accused police of using excessive force in breaking up unauthorized protests, which have included road-blocking demonstrations shutting down traffic at major intersections including Shilat Junction on Highway 443 near Modiin, the intersection of Sarei Yisrael Street and Jaffa Street in Jerusalem.

Organizers of the recent wave of protests have encouraged demonstrators to film incidents of police violence – a tactic that apparently has borne fruit. According to the Walla News report, the Police Internal Investigations Department is poised to issue criminal indictments against a number of the officers accused.

A spokesperson from the Internal Investigations Department said the department is “committed to honest, uncompromising investigations into claims of unnecessary violence and unlawful use of force or [police] authority, with a deep appreciation for the need to maintain public faith in law enforcement.”