Justice for all? Also for those demanding an investigation into Ahuvia Sandak's death?

Police at anti-Bibi. demostrations and at those demanding justice for Ahuvia Sandak seem to have received very different orders. Op-ed.

Rebecca Rubinstein ,

Writer with Ahuvia poster at Balfour St.
Writer with Ahuvia poster at Balfour St.

I am not a political animal. I am always asking my husband to explain who's who in Israeli politics which is pretty hard to follow in such a fast-changing arena. But in Israel, everything tends to be political even if in other countries, it might not be.

Everyone has the issues he is prepared to fight for. Be it equal rights, sex discrimination, better education, wage increases. And the streak I have had since a little girl is fighting for justice. When I see or feel "the law is an ass" ( meaning a donkey, as Mr. Bumble said in Oliver Twist) or the law is arbitrarily enforced in one sector of the community and not the other, my justice button gets triggered.

Two weeks ago, a 16 year-old boy was killed in a police chase. He had what is known popularly as "gezumbot", thick wild sidelocks, a big kipa and identified with hill top youth. He and his four friends were suspected of allegedly throwing stones at Palestinian Arab cars, in retaliation for the murder of Esther Horgan.

I, like most citizens do not think it is right to throw stones at cars, be it Jews throwing them on Palestinian Arab cars or Palestinian Arabs throwing them on Israeli cars. In this case, the police did not see them throwing stones, but they suspected stones were being thrown and the Hill-top boys would be perfect suspects.

What happened next was tragic. There was a police chase and the police car hit the back of the boys car in what is called "rear-ending", and the car was pushed off the side of the road, did two somersaults in the air, four boys were injured and one boy, 16 year old Ahuvia was killed.

The four boys in the car were immediately handcuffed and Ahuvia was left under the wheels of the car. I do not know exactly what transpired, what I do know is that there should have been an immediate investigation into what actually happened.

The police involvement was not investigated and the officers in the chase were not called in for questioning for many days. In cases like this, the police cannot investigate their own policemen and usually "Machash" - the Department for Investigation of the Police, which is under the Ministry of Justice, takes on the case. In this case, it did not happen and there is public outcry that the police are covering up what really happened.

It is clear from the pictures of the police car that it rammed into the back of the other car.

It is all too clear that the cameras both in the car and in strategic places on the road have disappeared.

It is clear that it took the police one and a half hours to report the incident and that only 3 days later they were called in for "light questioning" by who said these are the best policemen.Machash, did we say?

After public pressure from 16 days of demonstrations, Machash allegedly arrested one of the policemen for obstructing the investigation, but he has already been released.

A full independent investigation is absolutely imperative. Now! This incident is another instance of police harassment of Jews who live in Yehuda and Shomron that has gone unchallenged by the authorities.

George Floyd, a black criminal, was arrested earlier this year in Minneapolis and killed while handcuffed by police. He was a seasoned criminal but that is not the point. The police officer who stood on his neck for over 8 minutes and caused his death also covered his tracks and the police enquiry tried to cover up. But there were videos and witnesses and soon riots all over America and a world-wide campaign with numerous people identifying with the victim.

What I don't understand is why this 16 year old's death was allowed to pass without getting media attention and without any opposition from law abiding citizens?

Why are the only people demonstrating for justice, people from the "chardali-haredi Zionist" and "mitnachalim-settler" sector of the population?

Why isn't everyone demanding an independent enquiry and not to hush this up?

Why isn't the average citizen concerned about police violence meted out to anyone at all?

The police cannot be above the law and have to be held accountable for mistakes, prejudices and even needless violence against everyone: hill-top youth, demonstrators, be they from the left or the right.

Justice should not be different for one sector of the community.

As I said, justice is something I am willing to fight for. I went to the demonstration in Jerusalem last Saturday night and again last night. Last night after the minor demonstration at the entrance to Jerusalem where there was no media and very few cars, I decided to go to the leftist demonstration at Balfour Street near Netanyahu's home with a big poster of Ahuvia's beautiful face, demanding a special investigation.

A few comments are in order here:.

Firstly, just one person with a poster who is sure of his cause can make a noise without having to say a word. Some immediately see a picture of even a sweet-faced child with big bushy sidelocks and make assumptions based on the way he looked. Others had not heard of the incident as it got so little press coverage and was hushed up. And some genuinely wanted to know what had happened.

Anyone who thinks that these demonstrations, allowed by the High Court which seems to feel this is the holiest democratic principle in Israel, holier than saving lives, and that Balfour is a corona-free zone where people are standing lawfully, with masks and keeping a 2 meter distance, is greatly mistaken. Demonstrations are crowds, and in this case, many of those present were dancing close together, having a great time, and oblivious to the fact that they may cause unnecessary deaths from Corona.

The High Court ruled there are two conditions for this: masks and social distancing. And, of course, these conditions are not being met, but we did not see one policeman in the demonstrating arena, no law enforcement officers taking any action whatsoever. In fact it felt like a carnival with fancy dress! The demonstration was all over the streets which the police had cordoned off even though it is against the law for demonstrations to block roads, the police had blocked the roads in the center of town and as far away as Herzog, Emek Refaim and Strauss.

Last week, we attended the demonstration for Ahuvia in Har Hachotsvim. It is striking how different the attitude and reaction of the police is to this sector. The road was not cordoned off, the police water cannons were at the scene of the demonstration and started firing water from the beginning. Police aggression against the demonstrators was in full swing. Violence breeds violence on both sides, but the police are the adults here..The difference in attitude was astounding.

When you watch the police dragging a 10 year-old boy and throwing him into a police van, it is hard to stand by and not do anything.

My husband went over to the police, asking them why they do not take action against the violation of the rules on Balfour Street, and showed them videos of last week's demonsration for Ahuvia in Har Hachotsvim showing the police severe and often violent actions against the demonstrators.

Their response was "You are right".

I can only conclude that the instructions given to the police are orchestrated from higher echelons and there is one law for the right and one for the left.

We know that "law and justice" are the foundation of every society, without which it cannot exist. It is about time that real Law and Justice are enforced in our Jewish State.

Rebecca Rubinstein lives in Jerusalem, is a freelance writer and runs Lech Lehca workshops in personal and spiritual growth for women. She teaches seniors and is a life coach for women in life transitions.