Israel's Top Cop Says Police Violence Against ultra-Orthodox 'Unacceptable'

Investigations into police violence are to be opened after footage emerged of officers pushing, kicking protesters unprovoked at Sunday's protest in Jerusalem

Police tackle a protester at an ultra-Orthodox protest in Jerusalem, September 16, 2017.
Emil Salman

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich has said that it seems the conduct of the police at a demonstration held by hundreds of ultra-Orthodox protesters on Sunday in Jerusalem was "unacceptable."

Alsheich made the comments to senior Jerusalem District officials on Monday, after video footage emerged of police officer's pushing and kicking protestors, and added that the matter is to be be investigated.

Commenting on the violence, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said: "A police officer is permitted to use force when carrying out his duties, however there is no excuse for losing one's mind as it seems was the case for some of the officers at Sundays protest in Jerusalem," adding that the matter must be investigated.

Protests were held Sunday by the ultra-Orthodox men community over the arrest of some 40 ultra-Orthodox men who refused to be drafted into the military. Nine were arrested two protestors hospitalized as a result of the protests in which violence is claimed to have been perpetrated by both sides.

"I felt very bad to see the pictures from the demonstration. There are policemen here who will be held accountable if it is found that they acted improperly." Alsheich said.

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"It should be understood that there is no enforcement of the law that looks good, but on the other hand we must not allow such situations to get out of control and for violence to be used unnecessarily," he said.

The Justice Ministry department that investigates police misconduct has begun collecting testimony and footage of the violence and plans to interview the two hospitalized protesters. “It seems as if the commander on the scene lost control of the incident,” a senior law enforcement official said on Sunday.

Regarding the investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Alsheich said that "we are entering a complex year, we have not missed any detail and have left no stone unturned. As of now, we have got everything we expected to receive" from former suspects who have turned state's evidence in the different cases surrounding the prime minister.