a different side of Israel

Tag: Police

Cleaning up the Streets

On Wednesday, four boys aged 13 were arrested by the police after having sex with a girl of their own age. They had consumed massive quantities of vodka and had gotten the girl drunk too. They took advantage of her in her state of intoxication.

Police received four calls about seeing the boys in a Ramat Gan park with the girl. Patrol cars arrived at the scene and spotted the party.

According to a Dan Region police investigation led by one Chief Superintendent Rafi Regev, the group of adolescents sexually attacked the girl for several hours while they went through a number of parking lots in the area.

The four youths suspected of the attack are awaiting a pending trial at the Juvenile Court and the police seek to extend their detention.
In other news, Ynet had a feature story about IT Works, an independent charity that has been operating in Israel since 2006. They are now introducing the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). This is a holistic program for at risk Israeli teens that combines technological education with peer volunteering and personal mentoring. The program seeks to prepare high school dropouts for national army service and skilled employment in local communities.

Most at-risk Israeli youth are susceptible to poverty because of unemployment in their young and stupid years. Those who have left school without attaining a high school education often turn to criminal careers. Many of these otherwise good kids lack proper family support and live in foster homes.

YEP encourages positive engagement within the community by teaching useful employment skills, and prepares at-risk Israeli youth for integration into the skilled workforce by building vocational skills.

YEP courses are open to Jewish, Druze and Arab kids between the ages of 15 and 18. The program will occur in six low-income communities throughout the country in the first year of the program. Every class is comprised of 25 students from the local area.

The country’s National Insurance Institute has committed to fund 50% of 18 YEP cohorts over the next three years.
IT Works will be running two programs this year in Kiryat Gat and Netanya for Israeli Jews; in Umm al-Fahm for Israeli Arabs, and last but not least, in Usfiya and Shfaram for Israeli Druze.

Settlers Clashing With Police and Friendly Farming in the Jordan Valley

Police Commissioner, Dudi Cohen, determined that defense forces acted appropriately during the Havat Gilad incident last week, when 15 Jewish settlers were injured when a Civil Administration team showed up at the illegal outpost with police forces, to demolish the newly built structures. A clash ensued in which settlers threw rocks at the forces and the police were forced to shoot plastic bullets. Eight activists were brought into police custody.

west bank sustainable farmAnd on a more positive note, to the side of the Jordan Valley road, greenhouses and long palm trees ornament the vista, demonstrating the economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians.

Amid al-Masri, an agricultural landowner in the Jordan Valley said:

“Cooperation between us and Israel began at the end of the second intifada because we had much to learn from you…We cooperate with many Israeli companies on issues like de-infestation, irrigation and seedlings.”

A foreman at one of the Palestinian Authority’s foremost agricultural companies, Omad Hossam a-Zorbe, said:

“This project is funded by USAID and we now have 200 dunams (49.4 acres) of greenhouses. Most of the produce is for export, and whatever is left gets sent to the local market.”

Palestinian farmers are exporting their produce to countries with which they have trade agreements, through Israeli companies. Palestinians farmers also export produce from the Valley to Israeli farmers, bypassing the boycott of myriad European countries and economic bodies.

The Civil Administration is the organization supervising the cooperation; and is also responsible for instructing farmers and making sure they meet tough Israeli health standards.

An officer at the Civil Administration’s agriculture section, Samir Muaddi, said:

“We’re working with farmers and the Palestinian agriculture ministry to help them market their produce in Israel and make sure that the product we get is of a certain quality…Palestinians take part in seminars on modern agriculture and are exposed to Israeli and international innovations through the administration.”

Mazen Snokrut, the one-time Palestinian Economy Minister and now packing-house owner praised the project:

“This project is the best example of a win-win situation,” “This is an Israeli-Palestinian connection that has created trust between the two sides. We are working with no enemies here. We have joint creation with many companies from the Israeli economy – we buy their technology and seedlings and through them export to Europe and the US and even have Israeli agronomists here.”

A Pipe Between Us

Druze protesters from the Mount Carmel area clashed with the police near Yokneam on Tuesday. The demonstrators were against the laying of a natural gas pipeline on lands once belonging to them. Highway 70 in the direction of Yokneam from the north was also blocked.

“A quiet procession was agreed upon, but they began to disrupt the works, and went down to protest on the road”

Complained Northern District Chief Superintendent Yehuda Maman.

Several officers were injured and two Druze protesters were detained. Immediately, the protests were of no avail, as hundreds of officers continued to oversee the project and secured the surrounding roads.

The work was recommenced three months ago – about two years after work was brought to a halt following these very disagreements of ownership. The Israel Lands Administration made the decision to restart the work and also determined the level of compensation for the Druze inhabitants.

Fahmi Halabi, chairman of the Druze land association said:

“We are against violence…We will try to do everything to prevent this from becoming violent, but we don’t have the power to control everything, and we ask the government to reach an agreement with us soon.”

Intended to supply natural gas to the power station in Haifa and many factories in the area, the pipeline will pass between Dor Beach and Haifa Bay. So far, the pipeline has been laid between Dor Beach and Yokneam, and between Ha’emaqim Junction and Haifa. The work on the 11.5 km (7 miles) that is still remaining is expected to be completed within a matter of months.

Haredim Continue to Scream up a Storm

Well, several weeks have went by, and the Harta parking lot is still open. Now the Haredim are really pissed off, and they’ve decided to, in the words of Emeril Lagasse, kick it up a notch. In the last two days of protests, a Haredi man was run over by a car after he literally threw himself under it, six policemen were injured, and 16 were arrested.

Haredim parking lotIt’s now a battle of wills between mayor Nir Barkat and Haredi stubbornness. At some point, one of them is going to break, but both seem dead set on maintaining vigilance. Police reported an increase in the level of violence, the amount of people participating, the attempts to block roads and the parking lot itself, none of which succeeded. If you’re a policemen, at least your days are no longer boring.

Despite the ratcheting up, the police have no plans to instruct the mayor to shut down the parking lot.

I remember being at a rally recently on Tisha B’Av, where a group of religious nationalists were attending a rally circling the old city of Jerusalem mourning the destruction of the Temple. Meanwhile, upon exiting this rally, I walked through the Haredi Neighborhood of Meah Shearim. There, there was a different Tisha B’Av rally going on, about the parking lot.

Picture it. National religious Jews are circling Jerusalem and mourning the Temple. Haredim mourning the opening of a parking lot. There is something of an obsession here that has taken hold of the Haredi community and caused them to lose their Jewish sanity, until it seems there is none left.

I can imagine that, theoretically speaking, the Temple is actually rebuilt and they’re still protesting the opening of the parking lot. Is it really that far fetched?

Interestingly Dr. Hadas Hanani, a researcher of the haredi society, believes the real reason for the protest’s timing is economic.

“I think that the reason for holding protests at this time is the donations they have to raise ahead of the High Holidays,” she told Ynet. “This is the period when they look for donations abroad, preparing booklets and leaflets with explanations on why it is important not to leave families hungry during the holidays.”

She continued, “They show that they are bravely protecting Shabbat, presenting secular newspaper reports and pictures. It really serves them, it gives them ‘meat’ when they come to donors and tell them, ‘We are facing the seculars, the municipality, the police, and everyone.”

And when will they end according to her? Likely at the end of the holidays. “It will probably calm down slowly. They’ll find a patent in the form of an agreement with the municipality, or have the rabbis say that the demonstrations desecrate Shabbat.”

We shall see.

Terror strikes Tel Aviv Gay Community Center

RobberyNot only is political or nationalistic terrorism a problem, but that against certain interest groups too. A long gunman wearing a mask burst into a central Tel Aviv gay community center late Saturday night, firing an automatic weapon at the crowd of young people who had gathered there. The result left two persons dead and at least 12 more wounded; four of them critically. The center, located on Nahmani Street, off Ahad HaAm, was a well known meeting place for young homosexuals and lesbians, as well as for those who weren’t quite sure what their actual sexual “orientation” really was, but needed a place to discover themselves. Most of the victims of the shooting were teenagers between 16 and 18. The two killed included a male counselor, Yaniv Katz (26), and a young woman, Liz Tarbishi (17).

The attack sent shock waves throughout the entire Tel Aviv entertainment sectors, as many thought this was a Palestinian instigated terror attack. It was an act of terror, all right, but one of a different form and apparently meant to target the city’s homosexual and lesbian communities, considered to be the largest and most open in the country – if not the entire Middle East. So far the lone gunman has not been apprehended, who witnesses said was “dressed in black”.

Police Chief Inspector General David Cohen called the attack “a most serious act” and one in which his police force will utilize all its resources to capture the perpetrator
and any possible accomplices. Israel Gay Youth organization chairman Yaniv Weizman said that the victims “were teenagers to came to center from all parts of the country to receive help and talk to each concerning their apprehensions regarding being gay.” He added that people coming to the center, which also served as a social center, thought that this was a safe place to meet, and was not meant to be pub or nightclub.

“Today, however, someone sent a message that members of the gay community in Tel Aviv are not safe. Someone knew what was going on here”, Weizman added.

The last serious act concerning gays in Israel occurred in Jerusalem in 2005 when two Gay Pride marchers were stabbed by a member of Jerusalem’s Haredi ultra orthodox community.

Forget to Check the Tapes? Undercover Agents Put in Danger

HaSmuim Channel 10On the one hand, Channel 10 Israel is going bankrupt. But on the other hand, it radically endangered the lives of undercover policemen this week, so if it goes out, at least it’ll go out with a bang.

Don’t be too quick to blame it on Channel 10 though, since they followed procedure. One of their shows, הסמויים (HaSmuyim) is about real undercover cops in sensitive situations. Before they air an episode, they send a copy months before to police headquarters, where a team is supposed to review the material, making sure that nothing security-compromising has been revealed and that its teams’ identities are safe and secret. So Channel 10 did indeed send in the tapes for review. The problem is, this time, they just stayed in the drawers and nobody bothered to check them. Somehow, they got clearance to air the episode anyway, and by the time somebody at police headquarters realized that the episode revealed dangerously sensitive information on undercover agents, they were already watching it on Channel 10.

Israel Police

Things like this happen in Israel. I mean things like vital information staying in drawers for months and never getting dealt with. That’s why it takes 6 months to get something trivial like government approval for a foreign academic degree. They keep it in a drawer for 5 months, take a vacation for 3 weeks, misplace the drawers, and then give you government approval. But when lives are at stake, this is a first.

Police are checking the involvement of Chief of Police Dudi Cohen in giving the final OK to Channel 10, but it seems he was not aware of the sensitive information in the tapes at the time, or the fact that nobody saw them. Let’s just hope everything will be OK, and roll our eyes a bit. Hopefully, this will lead to a renewed sense of responsibility among police staff. We can only hope.

Haredim Clash with Police in Jerusalem

In what appears to be the worst outburst of ultra-orthodox Jewish violence in Jerusalem in nearly two years, thousands of the city’s Haredim community took to the streets on Saturday to clash with police over the opening of a parking lot by the city municipality to give visitors a place to park their cars while visiting the city on the Sabbath. Shouting “Shabbos, Shabbos”, and with many throwing rocks and other missiles at a large police contingent, the protestors created a mayhem that resulted in six policemen being lightly injured along with dozens of protestors, some of whom fought violently on a day when observant Jews are supposed to be at prayer and rest.

The police were so fearful that the mob would storm the city municipality building (where the parking lot is located) that they had to resort to using water cannon to disperse the rioters, as well as put out several fires to garbage dumpsters after the end of Shabbat. The opening of the parking lot on Shabbat was legally authorized after the city agreed to have it run by a non Jew. The Haredi community had other ideas, however, and the rioting not only involved the area of the parking lot but the ultra-orthodox Meah Shearim neighborhood as well, where most of the dumpster fires were later set.

Seven rioters were arrested on charges of committing a public disturbance (i.e. a riot) and one policeman, who was hit in the head by a rock, had to be hospitalized. The mayhem was the first big public disturbance in the administration of newly elected secular Mayor Nir Barkat, whose office denounced the disturbances on Sunday, and declared that the lot will remain open on the Sabbath. The city officials had been trying to find a solution to the parking problems in the city on the weekends, when thousands of tourists and other visitors come to Jerusalem, especially the Old City. It was agreed not to charge money for the parking, but this apparently didn’t matter to the Haredim, who still consider the lot to be a desecration of the Sabbath, and who had posted ads in religious newspapers beforehand saying to “be prepared for a battle for Jerusalem.”

A small group of secular people held an opposite protest with signs saying “this is not Teheran – the Haredim have no shame!”

The last big Heredim sponsored riot in the Capital occurred when the country’s Gay Rights groups tried to stage a march in the city on International Gay Pride Day.

Murders Drop as Cops go back to “Normal”

Police in JerusalemDespite the recent terrorist attack in Dimona and continued Qassam missile attacks on Sderot, Israel police say they actually have more time now for conducting what they consider to be normal police activities. New Head Police Inspector General Dudi Cohen disclosed that in the year 2007, the number of murders actually decreased in Israel by 21%. Although many serious crimes such as aggravated assault, robbery, and rape have not shown significant deceases, at least murders have, according to Cohen.

While murders have decreased, assaults such as stabbings by youth have increased, however; and this area is one in which the police are trying to put more efforts into. Another area in which the police will be putting more attention in is the increasing numbers of traffic violations and serious accidents, many resulting in death and serious injuries. Hardly a week goes by without these accidents being shown on TV. Many are caused by young drivers as well as by those with a history of serious traffic violations. The police are already putting more officers on the roads to give citations for traffic offenses. This might be something that senior police offices should make themselves examples of as it was just the other day that the Inspector General himself was shown driving at speeds in excess of 140 km per hour.

Another new unit, called the Magen anti-drug enforcement unit is working on combating narcotics smuggling from Egypt to Israel. Some of their new equipment includes specially equipped helicopters to spot smugglers on the ground and thus call in mobile units to apprehend them. One of their top officers, Chief Inspector Kobi Mor is the police office who killed the second terrorist in the attack in Dimona. His unit was not far away when alerted to the scene of the terror attack.

Inspector General Cohen was appointed to his post after his predecessor was forced to resign following a number of serious allegations dealing with his connections with crime figures. The police force has had problems with other high ranking officers as well, and one of Cohen’s chief tasks has been improving the image of the police in Israel.

It hasn’t been an easy task. Cohen and other high ranking police and security officials attended a special conference a few months back dealing with finding ways to improve the police and security forces in Israel. The conference, entitled: To Protect and to Serve – Police and Policing in an age of terrorism and beyond, was also attended by law enforcement officials from the USA. It is hoped that new efforts and concepts will improve the efficiency of all departments of the police force in Israel.

Police Faking It

Fake Police Traps

It turns out that the police have added quite a few fake cameras on the roads lately. If you drive around you see these polls with a box at the top housing the dreaded speed monitoring device. This was sent to me and it’s a quick guide to spotting the fake cameras from the real ones. Hat

1. The real posts have a lock on the back of the camera housing and a clear door.
2. The camera roof tilts slightly forward.
3. The real camera has ventilation openings on the back.

So you all be good !!

© 2023

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑