A police officer dismissed the plea for protection of a man who was shot, along with his son, as a result of an ongoing family feud in central Israel.
The man and his son were shot and wounded November 8 as part of a feud that began three months ago when a younger son shot and killed a young man from the other family during a brawl. The family says a police officer told them after the brawl they should leave their community because their lives were in danger.
When the man, who is in his 60s, was recently discharged from the hospital, he called the police officer to request protection for his family from the other family. The officer said he didn’t understand what the man wanted the police to do, at one point saying, “You want me to take you home? What am I, a taxi service?”
A lightly edited transcript of the phone conversation between the hospitalized man and the police officer follows.
The man: “All I’m doing is asking for help, protection. Take me wherever you can.... I received a discharge from the hospital, I’m wounded and I sit on a chair all night.”
The police officer: “OK, I don’t understand what you want from the police.”
M: “I want the police to either bring me home with protection...”
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P: “I’ll bring you home? What am I, a taxi service?”
M: “So don’t bring me home, protect me.”
P: “I’ll protect you?”
M: “Wait, who protects me?”
P: “Who’s threatening you?”
M: “What? I got 50 bullets on my car and you ask who’s threatening me?”
P: “Who threatened you, who?”
M: “I’m telling you, I got, I was shot, me and my son, in the car, and we were wounded.”
P: “Who shot, who, who?”
M: “It’s the family, and I filed a complaint and said...”
P: “Where did you complain, to whom?”
M: “I filed a complaint, yesterday I filed a complaint, and the same day I came to the hospital I also complained.”
P: “Where, at which station, at which station did you complain?”
M: “At the [name of community] station and also the [name of community] station, where the incident was.”
P: “OK, it’s being processed, beyond that I can’t do anything.”
M: “OK, being processed. I just got discharged, where will I go?”
P: “What do you think, I’ll assign an officer to protect you 24 hours a day?... So go to the [name of community] station, where do they live, in [repeats name of community]?”
M: “I can’t leave, they could be waiting for me near the gate, I’m under threat. I received bullets, I’m not just saying I’m under threat, I have proof.”
P: "OK, but I can’t give you an officer who will guard you 24 hours a day.”
M: "So don’t protect me, find a solution for me.”
P: “How will I find you a solution, what solution will I find for you?”
M: “So what do you want me to do, me and my family?... Who do we turn to?... If I turn to the police and that’s how the police talk...”
P: “I’ll check with the station what’s happening with your complaint. Yallah, talk to you later, bye.”
Following the brawl the family — five adults and two infants — have been living in various places, out of fear for their lives. They have asked community members to mediate an end to the feud, but so far without success.
According to members of the family, the police helped them find a safe house, but only in the initial weeks after the brawl. They say the cooperation ended after the younger son was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of the young man from the other family. His father says he got the sense that the officer only helped them in order to track down and arrest the son.
Early in November, the family returned to their neighborhood, though not their own home, after a mediator from the Jerusalem area told them negotiations with the other family had progressed and tempers had cooled a bit. But on November 8, the father and the older son were shot and injured while driving to a local mosque for Friday prayers. Both were hospitalized.
Family members said that the next day, the police called and asked them to pick up the car the two men had been driving when they were shot. “I told them I had no way to get there, since I was wounded,” the son said. “They said to find someone else to pick it up, with no sympathy... The police know who the shooters are, but they aren’t doing anything,” he added.
The Israel Police said in a written statement that the shooting was under investigation in an effort to prosecute those responsible. “Regarding the claims, recently police officers contacted the man, wanting to help him, but his request for 24-hour protection without knowing specifically who sought to hurt him is unreasonable.... There are hundreds of incidents every day involving violence, ongoing disputes, domestic violence, organized crime and too many things to count. The Israel Police cannot allocate personal protection 24 hours a day and that is not its job.”