A Revolutionary East Jerusalem Experiment Offers an Effective Alternative to Police Brutality

After years of friction, the mutual suspicion between the police and the public seems to be sliding into war. Still, there’s cause for hope, and it comes from the police themselves, who decided to examine what happens when you stop a person on the street and ask them one simple question

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Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Damascus Gate this past May.
Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Damascus Gate this past May.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Hagai Agmon-Snir
Hagai Agmon-Snir

Late last December, Shir Aharon Bram, a Jerusalem social activist, wrote a Facebook post about the demonstration he had attended the previous night across from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem. Four police officers had removed him from the site. He didn’t resist, and they hoisted him in the air and carried him to a different place. On the way, one of the policemen said to him, “Listen, man, everything’s okay, don’t resist, and we’ll finish this fast. We don’t want to hurt you.” Bram replied, “Fine, and thank you.” A second officer said, “We’re fed up with you demonstrators, we’ve had it up to here. If you dare move, it’ll be excruciatingly painful for you. If you resist, I will see to it that you spend the night in detention.” Bram summed up the event like this: “Basically, they both said the same thing – the whole difference is in the approach.”

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