An Arab who chased after three children while holding a knife has had his case closed twice, despite clear footage from security cameras.
On a Friday morning in September, three haredi children reported that an Arab had chased after them with a knife, near the Rami Levi mall in Mevaseret Zion.
Police officers called to the scene did not locate any suspects, and the case was closed for lack of proof, with the police at first claiming that the children had made the story up.
After the Honenu organization applied to receive footage of the event from the mall's security cameras, they found that the children had told the truth. However, Israel Police's prosecutors decided to close the case for a second time, despite the footage.
Attorney Haim Bleicher of Honenu, who is representing the children, submitted an appeal to the Prosecutor's Office regarding Israel Police's decision. In his appeal, Bleicher explained how the attack unfolded.
All three of the children are students at a Chabad yeshiva in Jerusalem, and are between 13-14 years old. They had set up a tefillin (phylacteries) stand and blow shofar (ram's horn) in the Mevaseret mall.
After they had finished for the day, the children walked towards the main road, and passed by the attacker and another Arab while on the stairs. At that point, the two Arabs began to poke fun at the Jewish children and scream at them.
The boys quickly walked towards a nearby bus stop, but noticed the attacker drawing a long knife from one of his pockets and begin quickly running after them.
"By miracle, at the same moment they arrived from the direction of the bus stop, two older boys appeared, apparently causing the attackers to flee the scene before carrying out their plot," Bleicher explained.
The boys boarded the bus to Jerusalem, while reporting the incident to the police. They repeated their account to the policeman who met them in Jerusalem.
On the Sunday following the event, the boys filed a complaint with the police. However, the police officers who arrived at the scene on Friday did not locate the suspects, and the case was closed after another few days.
After the mall's security department was contacted, more footage was found which shed light on the attack, and by which the suspects could be located. Bleicher then turned to the police with the new findings, and the investigation was reopened and an additional child was interviewed.
Later, the attacker and his accomplice were both arrested, and were interrogated by police approximately two months after the attack. However, a few weeks ago, Bleicher was informed that the case was closed again, by the Jerusalem District prosecutors.
Bleicher then requested to review the investigation materials, in order to decide whether to submit an appeal. He also said he was "amazed" at the gap between the findings and the police department's unexplained decision to close the case.
In the appeal, Bleicher noted that the children's complaints match up perfectly with the camera footage. In one of the sessions, the police interrogator expressed doubt at the testimony, asking the child,"Do you understand the consequences of false testimony?" The child responded, "I don't care, I know this is the truth."
In addition, all of the suspect's responses during his interrogation avoid the attack and are not believable. At first, he denied that he even spoke to the children or chased them. After the interrogator argued with him and showed him footage, the suspect admitted his part in the incident.
Bleicher also noted that the video footage showed that the suspect held an object in his hand while he chased after the children. "The suspect ran with his right hand steady, beside his body as if gripping something, while his left hand moved unsteadily."
The third child, he said, can also be questioned, "but we cannot make peace with closing this case, due to its wealth of visual proofs and the complainants' explicit testimonies. Since this is a serious incident of an attempted stabbing attack, which has an anti-Semitic background, I would like to request to cancel the closing of the case and that the suspect should be brought to justice immediately, before he can attempt for a second time to carry out his plans."
Two months after Bleicher submitted his appeal, the Prosecutor's Office has not yet issued a response.