MK Ofer Cassif, the sole Jewish MK on the predominantly Arab Joint List Party, was attacked by police officers during a protest in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem on Friday afternoon.
The incident took place during a weekly demonstration in the neighborhood in protest of the intention to evacuate Arab residents from the area. Videos from the scene show Cassif clashing with Border Police officers during the demonstration, which developed into a violent incident between the sides.
Cassif’s glasses were broken and his shirt was ripped.
A spokesperson for the Jerusalem Police said, “A preliminary investigation of the incident revealed that during the protest, one of the demonstrators attacked one of the policemen, while kicking him and hitting him in the face. The policemen had to use reasonable force to stop the attacker, as he did not identify himself, and when it became clear that he was a Knesset member, he was immediately released.”
MK Bezalel Smotrich of the Religious Zionist Party condemned the conduct of the police and said, "The incident of the attack on MK Ofer Cassif by police is serious and unacceptable in a democratic state of law. The immunity of MKs is critical to fulfilling their role, and is not a matter for one side or the other on the political map. Too many times in recent times, police officers have been violating the law in this manner, and the Israel Police are required to do some serious self-examination."
Knesset Speaker MK Yariv Levin said, "I was shocked to see the serious incident in which a Knesset member was beaten by police. Such brutal behavior is unworthy of any citizen, let alone towards a Knesset member who is entitled by law to freedom of movement in order to fulfill His role."
"Unfortunately, this is not the first incident involving harming of Knesset members, and ignoring their rights under the law. Immediately after Shabbat, I will urgently contact the Minister of Internal Security and insist that the incident be investigated, and that all necessary steps be taken so that those responsible will be prosecuted, and a similar incident will not occur in the future."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)