Bus (illustration)
Bus (illustration)iStock

A bus driver from the Afikim bus company attacked a passenger in front of his wife and toddler son, imprisoned the family on his bus without air-conditioning, cursed at him, kicked him down the bus steps, left them on the side of the road with their luggage still on the bus, and attempted to run over the passenger with the bus, according to a complaint filed against the driver with Israel Police.

Despite the complaint and the seriousness of the accusations, the police did not open an investigation against the bus driver.

Attorney Haim Bleicher of the Honenu legal organization has now filed an appeal with the State Attorney's Office requesting an investigation into the assault and the prosecution of the driver.

The incident took place about six months ago, just before Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). The appeal described that Y., his wife and two-year-old son were waiting in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem for a bus traveling to Bnei Brak. The young family boarded line 422 of the Afikim company, but after the trip began, Y. discovered that his "Rav Kav" bus pass was not loaded with money.

While Y. was trying to find a solution and called Afikim to settle the matter, the driver began to swear and act aggressively, saying: "You haredim are thieves and extortionists and I'll show you." Y. and his family were the only passengers on the bus.

Suddenly, 200 meters after the Shmuel Hanavi station, "the driver stopped the bus and turned off the engine while shouting at the appellant: "You haredim are thieves and extortionists, you do not deserve an air conditioner." The driver got off the bus, closed the door on the appellant, his wife, and son and essentially imprisoned them on the bus without air conditioning."

Only after several minutes did the driver get back on the bus while cursing Y. Y.'s wife and child got off the bus, but while Y. was in the bus doorway, the driver suddenly kicked him hard in the back, knocking him out of the bus.

Y.'s wife shouted at the driver to open the luggage compartment, where the family's belongings were, while his toddler son wept bitterly. When Y. noticed that the driver was preparing to continue driving with the luggage, he stood in front of the bus in order to stop it and take the luggage out of the compartment, while calling the police.

Nevertheless the driver started driving towards the appellant, who saved himself from being run over at the last second by leaping to the side of the road. Y. and his family had to take a taxi to Bnei Brak in order to arrive in time before the holiday, and to reach the Afikim company terminal to pick up the luggage.

Y. filed a complaint the day after the holiday with the Lev HaBira police station in Jerusalem, but to his great surprise, he recently received a message through the crime victims' system that it had been decided to close the case without investigation "on the grounds that the circumstances of the case as a whole are not suitable for opening an investigation, since this is an incident for which criminal procedures are not an appropriate framework for clarification."

At the end of the appeal, the lawyer emphasized that this was a very serious incident "in which a public bus driver attacked a father in front of his wife and toddler child, imprisoned them on the bus and even tried to run them over, while deliberately driving away with their personal belongings and leaving them on the road."

Bleicher added, "It is not clear, therefore, how such a serious complaint can be closed without an investigation." Bleicher asked the State Attorney's Office to open the investigation file and bring the driver to justice.

Advocate Bleicher said: "This is a very severe traumatic event. My client said he saw the hatred in his eyes. To just attack a man next to his family, next to his baby, leave him on the street, kick him off the bus, on the eve of a holiday. To take his belongings, continue driving the bus and try to run him over - this is an event that cannot pass in silence; certainly a driver on public transport should be punished for it and not be allowed to continue in his position."