In the latest disturbing chapter following the tragic death of Ahuvya Sandak last week, killed during a police chase in the Binyamin region, Ahuvya’s fiancée, Shalhevet Goldstein, was subjected to a three-hour ordeal at a police station in Tel Aviv, when she went there to collect Ahuvya’s tefillin.
The Sandak family had asked Goldstein to collect the tefillin, after the shivah period of mourning concluded, but when she arrived at the police station, she was ordered into an interrogation room and ordered to switch off her cell phone. During the interrogation, she was asked questions of a personal nature with no bearing whatsoever on the investigation into Ahuvya’s death, and was also subjected to insults, with both her integrity and that of her fiancé called into question.
“I wanted to go and collect Ahuvya’s tefillin,” Goldstein related, following the ordeal. “The head of the Gush Etzion regional council, Shlomo Ne’eman, arranged for me to travel to the police station in Tel Aviv and to meet with an officer there who would give me the tefillin. We arranged a time and a place, but when I got there, they told me, without any advance warning, that they needed to ask me a few questions.
“They promised that it wouldn’t take long, and then they would give me Ahuvya’s tefillin, so I went into the interrogation room, and then they demanded my cell phone. I didn’t agree, but they forced me to switch it off. Then they started an interrogation which ended up taking three whole hours,” she said.
“During the interrogation, they yelled at me and asked me personal questions such as how long I had known Ahuvya, how often we met, and what was the nature of our relationship. I told them – excuse me, but what does any of this have to do with you?
“Then they started to verbally attack me, saying that I was acting like a criminal and wasn’t showing them the proper respect. One of them told me I was a liar, and used a lot of other horrible terms too, and then they started attacking Ahuvya as well, saying he was a nasty person, stingy, toxic, and all kinds of other things – they totally vilified him,” Goldstein related.
“Finally they let me go – but they refused to give me the tefillin. I kept begging them, and eventually they relented. It was a terrible experience,” she said.
Responding to the incident, attorney Adi Keidar of the Honenu human rights organization said: “In recent days, there has been an alarming escalation in the way police are handling this investigation. If until now the police showed open sympathy toward their fellow officers who were involved in the car chase that led to Ahuvya’s death, this new development shows that they are doing all they can to discredit Ahuvya and everyone connected with him – including his fiancée, his family, and his friends. Police are abusing and harassing as part of their so-called investigation, making it clearer and more evident as time goes on that the investigation is far from being objective. This needs to stop.”
Police issued a statement following the reports, saying that: “Israel Police is conducting its investigation with professionalism and sensitivity in order to arrive at the truth of what occurred, and this is also true of the incident in question, when the person concerned was invited to come and testify and agreed to do so.”