Police Officers Who Killed Bedouin Man to Be Questioned

Suspicions mount that cops broke regulations in shooting death that set off violent Bedouin protests.

Shirly Seidler
Rahat residents clash with police, January 20, 2015, after two Bedouins killed in confrontations.
Rahat residents clash with police, January 20, 2015, after two Bedouins killed in confrontations. Credit: Eliyahu Hershkowitz
Shirly Seidler

Police officers who killed a young man during a drug raid last month in the Bedouin town Rahat, which set off violent protests, will be summoned for police questioning in the coming days, police investigators told Haaretz on Thursday.

Sources in the Police Investigation Unit said that suspicions are mounting that the January 15 shooting of Sami al-Jaar violated police regulations.

On that date, police were arresting suspected drug dealers in the Negev town, when local residents gathered and began throwing stones at police and confronting them with the demand that they release the detainees. Police opened fire to try to repel the crowd.

Southern District Commander Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevi said at the time that Jaar, 22, was arrested while in the car of one of the drug dealers and that his father arrived on the scene wielding metal bars and began attacking the policemen.

“A crowd gathered and threw stones in an attempt to free the drug dealers, the whole thing became complicated and the policemen felt threatened. They began an extrication procedure, calling for reinforcements, hearing gunshots nearby. There is no reluctance in using firearms in Rahat. The policemen fired into the air and the force sent to relieve them was delayed,” said Halevi at a press conference following the incident.

Khaled al-Jaar, father of the deceased and a retired Israeli policeman, denied that his son was involved in drug dealing. He said his son had complained several times about drug deals taking place at the school, where the fatal raid took place, close to his home. He said his son heard shouting and ran out to see what was happening, at which point the young man was attacked by policemen.

“I only ask for one thing, that all those policemen be investigated, including their weapons. I refer to small and large weapons, as well as to undercover policemen. If Israel is a law-abiding country, if there is justice here, whoever killed my son should be brought to trial,” said Khaled al-Jaar.

At Sami al-Jaar’s funeral three days later, one of the mourners, Sami Ibrahim Zayadna, 45, died from the effects of inhaling tear gas that police fired after some of those at the funeral reportedly began throwing stones at them.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


נתניהו עם כיפה שחורה על הראש נשען בשתי ידיו על הכותל

Israel Is Heading for Its Most 'Jewish' Election Ever

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews