Israeli Cop Indicted for Exposing Jewish Women Who Spent Time With Arabs to Extremist Group

The head of the right-wing group Lehava says the officer should have received a citation of merit, not an indictment.

Members of right-wing organization Lehava protesting the wedding of a Jewish-born woman and a Muslim man in Rishon Letzion, August 17, 2014.
Ofer Vaknin

An Israeli Border Police officer was charged on Wednesday with giving the personal details of two young Jewish women who were riding in a car with two young Arab men from East Jerualem to an extremist anti-miscegenation organization.

Matan Amihai, 23, was charged in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court with violation of privacy and abuse of his authority, after the Justice Ministry’s department for investigating police officers filed the indictment.

According to the indictment, while checking cars at a checkpoint outside the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan in December 2014, several Border Police officers noticed a car carrying two young Arab men and two young women. An ID check made it clear that the men were Muslim Arabs from Silwan and the women were Jews. When asked, the four said they were returning from a trip to Eilat.

Amihai, the squad commander, photographed the passengers and their IDs with his cellphone. In a WhatsApp message to Michael Ben Ari, a former Knesset member (National Union) who has spoken out publicly repeatedly against relations between Jewish women and Arab men, Amihai wrote: “The ID of a girl who went with two Arabs and a female friend (the guys are from Silwan) to Eilat,” adding, “Michael, if you can, please relay this to the relevant people. Please keep us (Border Police officers from Silwan) anonymous, I wanted to cry now.”

Amihai sent a similar message to the head of Lehava, Benzi Gopstein: “We are Border Police men in Silwan,” he wrote. “We stopped a vehicle near Silwan and we saw two Arab guys going with two Jewish girls to Eilat. Here is the ID of one of the girls. Please do something. ... There’s nothing we can do in such a situation. Keep our names anonymous, of course.”

The incident came to light during an investigation of Gopstein, when the messages were found on his cellphone. The detectives also interviewed the passengers.

“Instead of the Israel Police giving the policeman a certificate of merit for his concern for his [Jewish] sisters, he gets an indictment,” Gopstein wrote on his Facebook page. “For shame. The police must deal with the Arabs who go after our girls. The Israeli government must fight assimilation. Every day I hear about cases from civilians, soldiers, police officers and members of the security services.”