(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The guard who shot Silwan resident Samr Sirkhan last Wednesday morning was
employed by a private security company, raising ire among residents who believe
that private guards should not be acting like police.
RELATED:Palestinians say Netanyahu responsible for Silwan killing16 suspected of involvement in Silwan rioting arrested
The company, called
Modi’in Ezrahi, provides guards for Jewish residents living in east Jerusalem as
well as in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. East Jerusalem Arab residents
accused the private security guards of being “quick on the trigger” in an
Association for Civil Rights in Israel report released on September 5 detailing
abuses in east Jerusalem neighborhoods.
ACRI also condemned the security
firm on Wednesday.
“There is an urgent need to stop the activities of
private security companies in east Jerusalem, who are acting as a policing force
without undergoing the proper training, and in the absence of a clear definition
of the limits of their work,” attorney Keren Tzafrir said in a
Modi’in Ezrahi won a public tender from the Ministry of
Construction and Housing to provide security to Jewish residents in east
Jerusalem and this year had a budget of NIS 54 million from the
In 2006, the Ministry of Construction and Housing appointed a
committee to study whether or not the state should continue to employ private
The Public Committee to Examine the Security of Guarding
Compounds in East Jerusalem, led by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uri Or, recommended
transferring the security back to the police. In January 2007, the government
adopted the committee’s recommendations, but the decision was never put into
East Jerusalem residents complained that the guards have no
oversight and are poorly trained, ACRI said in its report.
guards are trained to avoid friction and refrain from inflaming passions,” wrote
Ariel Rozenberg, the Ministry of Construction and Housing spokesman, in an
official response to the report. “The purpose of the guards is to keep the
population away from violent incidents in order to protect their safety; it is
not to restore order or to enforce the law.”
Modi’in Ezrahi supervisers
refused to comment on the matter.
In an interview with Channel 2, Modi’in
Ezrahi manager Ofer Rosenman said that security guards are attacked every
“We are talking about attacks with rocks, metal poles and gunshots
several times a day,” he said.