Police are considering filing assault charges against a social activist who reported she was beaten by a fellow protester at an LGBTQ Pride rally in Tel Aviv last summer.
Police suspect that she engaged in an altercation herself.
The activist, Sapir Slutzker-Amran, a lawyer, was treated at a hospital after the attack. She reported the incident to the police two days later, giving them the name of her alleged attacker and a list of eyewitnesses. The suspect was only called in for questioning two months later, after which he filed a complaint against Slutzker-Amran. Now the police have told her that there is sufficient evidence to charge her with “participation in a brawl.”
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The incident occurred on June 28 of last year at an LGBTQ Pride rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, which drew about 1,000 people. One of the participants raised a Palestinian flag and began to wave it, drawing the ire of a second man, identified as Moshiko Hadad. Hadad allegedly tried to make the man take down the flag, and began to scuffle with him.
Slutzker-Amran said she tried to protect the man who waved the flag and that Hadad threw her to the ground, pulled her hair and slammed her head onto the ground. She suffered bruises and swelling in several locations on her body and was taken to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a mild concussion.
Two days later, Slutzker-Amran went to the police and filed a complaint against Hadad. He and eyewitnesses to the incident were called in to give statements two months later. When Slutzker-Amran was summoned to the station again as part of the investigation, she found Hadad waiting for her; policed arranged a confrontation between them, during which he admitted to beating Slutzker-Amran but claimed that she attacked him first.
Shai Gortler, the demonstrator who waved the Palestinian flag at the rally, described the incident from his perspective to Haaretz. “When Dana International sang and said ‘all lives matter,’ I felt it was the right time to take out the flag and wave it,” he said. “A commotion started around us. [Hadad] wasn’t right next to us at that stage. He came and approached us in a very threatening manner. He didn’t hit me but he covered my little flag with his huge pride flag.”
“Several people tried to stop him from bothering me; my partner and our 2-year-old daughter were between us and tried to keep us apart,” Gortler recounted. “Another woman who was there said that if her 10-year-old daughter were to wave the flag, no one would hurt her, and she held the flag. [Hadad] came and ripped the flag out of her hands. Sapir [Slutzker-Amran], who was at the side, came and tried to protect the woman, and then the violence began,” he said.
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Gortler was adamant that Slutzker-Amran did not assault Hadad. “It was a one-sided attack. He approached us, grabbed the flag, attacked Sapir and continued to celebrate afterwards. He even took a picture with Dana International. There is no doubt that Sapir did not attack him,” he said.
A woman who witnessed the incident and gave a statement to police but who wished to remain anonymous told Haaretz that she saw a verbal altercation between Hadad and a different woman. Hadad “absolutely started it, and grabbed her and threw her down. He was the first to raise a hand,” she said.
Last week, Slutzker-Amran was called into the prosecution division of the Israel Police and was offered to sign an agreement to resolve the matter without criminal charges being filed. It stated that Hadad would admit to the offenses attributed to him and pay a fine in exchange for having the charges against him dropped. Police showed Slutzker-Amran a draft indictment pertaining to her own conduct, accusing her of trying to prevent Hadad from waving his pride flag and of pulling on his shirt and tearing it, after which, according to the draft, Hadad assaulted her.
A police source who requested anonymity told Haaretz that police had proof that Slutzker-Amran assaulted Hadad.
Slutzker-Amran refused to sign the agreement, saying that she never assaulted Hadad. She has organized a campaign encouraging members of the public to send emails to the police demanding that the charges against her be dropped. For his part, Hadad told Haaretz that he has signed the prosecution agreement and insisted that Slutzker-Amran attacked him before he laid a hand on her.
“Her bruises aren’t from me. I only pulled her hair,” he said. “They can’t pin the whole thing on me.”