Police to compensate 17 Jewish youth for arrests during May riots

The Israel Police will pay NIS 5,000 to the 17 teens for their legal expenses and mental distress but argued that its actions were justified.

POLICE OFFICERS clash with protesters during a protest in Ramle on May 10. (photo credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)
POLICE OFFICERS clash with protesters during a protest in Ramle on May 10.
(photo credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)

Israel Police will compensate 17 boys with a total sum of NIS 85,000 for being illegally detained in Ramle during the riots that broke out during Operation Guardian of the Wall, the State Attorney's Office said on Thursday.

The compensation was based on a compromise made between the State Attorney's Office, police and the youths' lawyers. 

The arrangement stipulates that each of the plaintiffs will receive NIS 5,000, which includes "legal expenses as well as all the damages and expenses claimed by the plaintiffs, including mental distress." It further states that the amount "will be paid to the plaintiffs without admitting liability or the amount of damage."

"Unrest began among some Israeli Arabs in mixed cities and at major intersections around the country, which included large-scale violence, including the use of firearms, Molotov cocktails, fires in a number of locations, stone throwing and more," the State Attorney's Office wrote as background to the police's decision. 

On May 12, 2021, Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared a state of emergency in Lod's municipal territory, which gave the police 48 hours of extensive control over the city and the right to prevent non-residents from entering it.

Jews and Arabs protest together for calm and coexistence in Lod, following a night of heavy rioting by Arab residents, in May. (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)Jews and Arabs protest together for calm and coexistence in Lod, following a night of heavy rioting by Arab residents, in May. (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)
 

Many Jewish Israeli citizens began arriving in nearby Ramle parallel to the unusual declaration regarding Lod claiming that they came to strengthen and support Jews living in the city, the State Attorney's Office said. "Out of fear that these civilians would seek to harm Arab civilians or be harmed themselves by the violent incidents in the city, the Ramle police station made a decision to prevent non-residents from entering the city. Some of the citizens who came were taken to the station and released a few hours later, with some agreeing to restrictive conditions."

"The police's decision was indeed not made as part of the Defense Minister's declaration, but at the same time due to the circumstances, which required extensive and intensive operational activity by the police, the police commanders clarified that they had acted for lack of a better option in the face of dangers and threats," the State Attorney's Office said.

One of the plaintiffs said that the evening he was detained, he arrived with his friends in Ramle to distribute pizzas to the Jewish residents and cheer them up. After they finished the distribution and while returning to their car they were detained by police and waited six hours at the station.

"The police who chose did well to compensate the plaintiffs before the lawsuits were heard in court," said attorneys Menashe Yado and Eladi Wiesel, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Chonenu organization. "The police understood that they could not defend their puzzling and scandalous actions"