Dudi Cohen 311.
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen, at a police ceremony in Jerusalem on Wednesday
night, defended a decision to issue bravery citations posthumously to three
police officers who died in December’s Carmel fire.
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Cohen’s defense came
in response to a petition to the High Court of Justice by some families whose
loved ones died in a bus filled with Prisons Service cadets that had been sent
to rescue prisoners at the Shikma jail near Beit Oren. The families, which held
their own ceremony near the fire site on Wednesday night, say that the awards
should not be issued before a thorough investigation was launched into how the
fires were handled.
They allege that police mishandled the prison rescue
operation and that this led to the bus disaster.
The High Court rejected
“I looked closely at the arguments and rulings in the
High Court, and it pained me greatly.
A paradoxical situation has been
formed. How can loss be measured?” Cohen said during the speech.
heart is with the petitioners who are crying out with pain because of the
disaster which struck them, as well as with those who responded to the petition,
relatives of police officers who died. I understand those who seek an
investigation, including an examination check of police responsibility,” Cohen
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But, he stressed, “the findings have nothing in them to change the
fact that the police officers sacrificed themselves, and did not choose the easy
way, of fleeing the area.”
Cohen said their bravery merited the awards,
adding, “Today we salute the three officers for their activities in the struggle
against the fire that raged through the Carmel – Asst.-Cmdr. Lior Boker,
Supt. Itzik Melina, and Asst.- Cmdr. Ahuva Tomer, whose heart did not
stop beating until the fire went out.
“Their bravery and sacrifice does
not require an examination or the approval of anyone.
It is not
controversial,” Cohen said.
Earlier, the brother of a Prisons Service
officer, Rami Yisraeli, who died in the fire, told Channel 1 he thought “all 44”
victims of the fire, from the police and the Prisons Service, should be
“The struggle is not against bereaved families [of the police
officers], but against the separation being made between the families of the
Prisons Service and those of the police,” the brother, Ofir Yisraeli,
The families of the prison service officers held a demonstration at
Beit Oren to protest the awards.
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