A Purim party held for the Tel Aviv District of the Israel Police last week apparently turned into a racially motivated brawl, in which Jewish and Muslim policemen exchanged blows. Israel's Army Radio only broke the story on Tuesday because the police had tried to cover up the embarrassing incident.
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Policemen from the Dan precinct in Tel Aviv held a Purim party at an events hall in Or Yehuda last week. Late in the evening, folllowing a performance by singer Dudu Aharon, the policemen held a karaoke contest, calling up each officer to sing. At a certain stage, a Muslim policeman got up and started singing in Arabic, whereupon a number of Jewish police officers begain shouting that they were not interested in hearing Arabic songs and asked him to stop.
The Muslim policeman asked them what exactly was bothering them and the officers responded by shouting at and cursing him. One of them threw a glass cup at him, which shattered on the stage. The incident turned into a brawl, with a number of Jewish policemen coming to the aide of the attacking officer while Muslim officers went to help the Muslim policeman.
"It turned into a mass fight,” said one of the police officers who was present. “It was embarrassing. It was clear to everyone what was happening and why it broke out, but it was hard to separate the brawlers, some of whom had drunk alcohol, and the curses flung at the Muslim officer were a disgrace.” He added, “We wanted to bury ourselves on the spot.”
Officials in the Tel Aviv District police reported that many of the officers had left before the brawl broke out because of the late hour.
At present, the police investigation division is looking into the incident, and the two Tel Aviv officers who are suspected of attacking the Muslim officer are due to be questioned soon.
A spokesman commented that the Israel Police view seriously the behavior of the policemen at the Purim party.
“This behavior does not characterize the Israel Police, which strives to provide the best service possible to all Israeli citizens, and works to integrate members of all ethnic groups and religious groups within its ranks,” the spokesman said.