Ultra-Orthodox Jews take part in a demonstration against members of their community serving in the Israeli army in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich responded angrily last week to the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department decision to monitor police officers’ conduct at haredi (ultra-Orthodox) protests in Jerusalem two weeks ago.
PID investigators were present with video cameras at multiple haredi protests in Jerusalem, an unusual move as the department typically only looks into police conduct when a complaint is received or an incident involving the police results in fatalities. Some police officers responded with outrage, believing the PID was seeking to incriminate them.
Alsheich was upset upon finding out about the department’s proactive monitoring and called PID head Uri Carmel last week to express his discontent, as first reported by Walla News on Thursday and confirmed by The Jerusalem Post.
The PID defended it’s actions in a statement on Thursday, stating, “Without reference to any concrete incident, the PID takes a variety of actions to carry out its function, both in order to enforce the law against unusual police officers who act violently and to protect police officers who lawfully perform their duties against false complaints by rioters and offenders.”
This comes as the PID is involved in two major cases of alleged police misdeeds. On Thursday, the department filed an indictment against police officer Moshe Cohen, after the officer was seen on video violently beating an Arab truck driver in east Jerusalem. Cohen’s action were met with near-immediate condemnation by the Israel Police and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
Meanwhile, a PID investigation of police actions at Umm al-Hiran in January, which resulted in the deaths of a Beduin citizen and a police officer, is expected to conclude that the incident was not a terrorist attack, according to Hebrew media reports. Police responded to the leaks of the PID investigation into Umm-al-Hiran, calling them “disinformation.”