14 Israeli Soldiers Arrested on Suspicion of Attacking Bedouin in South

Military Police will likely extend the detention of the soldiers, who all serve in an ultra-Orthodox battalion in the Israeli army

File photo: A picture from the Netzah Yehuda Brigade's swearing-in ceremony, May 27, 2015.
Tali Mayer

Fourteen soldiers were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attacking Bedouin at a gas station in southern Israel. The soldiers belong to Netzah Yehuda, an ultra-Orthodox battalion of the Israel Defense Forces' Kfir Brigade.

The Military Police are investigating the incident, which took place at the gas station in the Dvira intersection.

The soldiers are suspected of assaulting and threatening the men they are accused of attacking, as well as of illegally using weapons. Their detention is expected to be extended on Wednesday. 

The military said that "should it be uncovered that soldiers had violated military orders or the law, the matter will be handled severely."

The incident took place last Wednesday, when the soldiers were on their way back from the funeral of a 14-year-old boy who had been struck by lightning. The soldiers claim that while they were at the gas station, one of the Bedouin men had approached and threatened to stab them. In response, they are suspected to have assaulted the Bedouin. 

The father of one of the soldiers, Ran Tubul, told Kan Bet radio on Wednesday morning that the soldiers “stopped at the gas station for refreshment at about 1:00 A.M.

“A group of Bedouin were sitting there. It seems like they started exchanging words, and at the end of it everyone got back on the minibus. One of the Bedouin shouted, ‘Hey soldier, come over here, I'm going to stab you in the heart.’ He put his hands into his pockets and advanced towards the minibus.”

At that stage, he said that his son – the commander of the force –disembarked from the minibus, “and did what he had to do to avoid being stabbed.” Tubul added that his son says the Bedouin tried to touch his weapon. “My son didn’t wait for him to take something out to confront him,” the father said.