Independence Day marred by crime

As nation celebrates, cops, MDA teams, firefighters rush to rescue.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, JONAH MANDEL
April 20, 2010 18:18
3 minute read.
A traffic cop speaks to a driver.

traffic cop 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

While the nation celebrated its 62nd Independence Day on Tuesday, police rushed to crime scenes around the country as the day of celebration took a violent turn.

Earlier in the day, a man in his fifties was stabbed to death in Givat Shmuel. The main suspect was said to be his mentally ill son, aged 25. The deceased, Refael Zvi, died from his wounds after an emergency response team was unable to save him. The son was taken in for questioning.

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Meanwhile on Tuesday, police, MDA personnel and firefighters worked to rescue a man who fell into a five-meter-deep aqueduct adjacent to Tel Aviv's Ayalon Highway. Two of the highway's lanes were blocked for hours until the man was evacuated to the city's Sourasky Medical Center in moderate condition.

According to police, the man had fallen into the aqueduct over fifteen hours prior to his rescue, remaining helplessly trapped there until a passerby heard him call for help and called the police.

Several hundred meters away from the aqueduct, at Tel Aviv's new Central Bus Station, an inebriated 25-year-old attempted to steal the rifle of a Border Policewoman who was on her way to her base. Apparently, the soldier had tried to break up a fight between youths at the station when one of them began to attack her. She fought back until the attacker left the area. He was later apprehended by police and transferred for interrogation.

Tel Aviv was not the only city to see violence on Tuesday. In Jerusalem's Denya Park, one person was lightly wounded in a clash erupted for unknown between dozens of people who were celebrating at the site. An MDA team treated the man at the scene as police arrested five people on suspicion of involvement.

Lake Kinneret's beaches may have been at maximum occupancy on Tuesday, but on Monday night they were the site of several altercations, including one alcohol-induced stabbing incident. A large police force was deployed to the scene to restore calm, arresting nine suspects who were set to be remanded on Tuesday night.

Not all of the Independence Day violence was criminally motivated. In Bnei Brak, hundreds of haredim blocked a road at the intersection of two streets and demonstrated against the existence of the State of Israel, hurling stones at a police car. No one was hurt, but slight damage was caused before police dispersed the protesters.

On Sunday evening and Monday morning, a handful of extreme Neturei Karta ultra-orthodox haredi men staged their annual protest against the Zionist entity of Israel by deliberately parading round in the capital's Kikar Hashabat during the Memorial Day sirens. One such youth also took the effort to burn an Israeli flags during the Sunday demonstration, and another did so during Monday's. Both were arrested.

In Jerusalem, meanwhile, Arab residents of Tira made their way to the Mt. Scopus campus of the capital's Hebrew University in two buses, intending to demonstrate at the site without prior permission from police. They waved black flags and Fatah banners as police forced them back onto the buses and led them out of the city.

On Monday night, a left-wing activist was arrested after baring his backside during the alternative Independence Day torchlighting ceremony near the Bank of Israel building. He was taken in for questioning.


This year's Independence Day also brought with it holiday-related accidents. As the nation made the transition from mourning to celebration on Monday evening, a 4.5-year-old girl was rushed in serious condition to Ein Kerem's Hadassah University Hospital after falling from the roof of her Nachlaot home. The girl's father, singer and composer Yonatan Razel, had climbed a ladder with the girl in tow in order to give her a good view of the annual display of fireworks. When they had climbed up to the roof, the girl slipped from Razel's grasp, falling to the ground and hitting her head.

On Tuesday afternoon, a toddler aged about two was evacuated to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer after accidentally consuming charcoal-lighter fluid. An emergency response team resuscitated the unconscious baby and gave him preliminary treatment at the scene.


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