Israeli Policeman Filmed Assaulting ultra-Orthodox Man in Jerusalem

Justice Ministry to investigate after footage shows cop shoving man who posed no threat, after which other officers are seen passing by without reacting

Josh Breiner
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Still from security camera footage of the incident.
Still from security camera footage of the incident.
Josh Breiner

Security camera footage shows a policeman assaulting a man who posed no threat in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea She’arim neighborhood.

The footage, taken two and a half weeks ago, shows the officer pushing Dov Frankel from behind, making him fall to the ground, after which other officers are seen passing by without providing any assistance. The Justice Ministry unit that investigates alleged police misconduct has opened an investigation.

Frankel, a resident of Mea She’arim, said he was returning from his parents’ home when police on duty on a nearby street assaulted him.

An attorney and member of the Toldot Aharon Hasidic sect, he said his parents “are in need of assistance. My father is very ill and it was my turn among my siblings to go see him. I saw the cops, but wasn’t afraid of them at all. After passing by a few of them, none of whom said anything to me, one of them shouted at me, ‘go home,’ and I said ‘fine.’ And before I could take a single step I was pushed forcefully from behind and found myself on the ground. This was a very traumatic and shocking incident for me – not only being pushed, but the indifference of the other officers. There was a commanding officer on site, there were other cops, and none of them thought they should lend a hand to help when I fell, as though I were nothing more than air.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Justice Minister Amir Ohana to conduct an urgent investigation, along with a probe into the case of an eight-year-old who was hurt by a stun grenade thrown by police during confrontations in the neighborhood. Erdan demanded that results of these investigations be published as soon as possible “so that the proper decisions may be taken in response to these events, so as to maintain public confidence in the police.”

The police said of the video: “This is abnormal behavior that is unacceptable and totally contradicts the norms of behavior expected of each and every officer. The incident is being examined and investigated by [the Justice Ministry], and in accordance with its findings we shall take the necessary steps against any of the officers who were involved.”

The past few weeks have seen tensions between police and ultra-Orthodox residents of Mea She'arim rising to the point that clashes are almost daily, as law enforcement has worked to enforce coronavirus quarantine regulations.