MK Ben-Ari arrested in Yitzhar

Police deny claims of violence after lawmaker blocked police vehicle.

The Border Police on Monday evening denied MK Michael Ben-Ari's claim that officers punched him during his arrest at a protest near the Yitzhar settlement earlier in the day. Both Ben-Ari (National Union) and his parliamentary aide Itamar Ben-Gvir were held for questioning after the lawmaker tried to block a Border Police vehicle that was carrying two young right-wing activists who had been arrested during a disturbance at Yitzhar junction. "[Ben-Ari] was blocking a military vehicle that was on patrol in the area and was preventing soldiers from doing their job," a police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post. "He was removed from the vehicle and detained, but as far as any physical violence, there has been no official report of that." "If [Ben-Ari] would like to file a complaint about a police officer acting unlawfully, it would be investigated, but at this point, I'm not aware of any such complaint," the spokesman continued. Ben-Ari, however, told the Post that he had in fact been physically assaulted by officers, insisting that all he had tried to do was to check on two youths who had been handcuffed and put into the vehicle. "Some children were in a police car and I wanted to speak with them, I wanted to check and see that they were okay," he said. "I told [the border policemen] that I was an MK, but they wouldn't give me access to the vehicle. I got into the car, and then they pounced on me, threw me to the ground and forcibly dragged me away to another police car. To speed up the process, I was hit in the face and the stomach," he said. Ben-Ari was then taken to a Border Police base in Beit Horon, between Modi'in and Jerusalem, along with Ben-Gvir, but following the traumatic events and his ensuing high blood pressure, a police medic ordered that he undergo a medical examination at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva. Speaking to the Post on his way to the hospital, the legislator said he was concerned by the conduct of the border policemen. "If they can treat a Knesset member like that, I can only imagine what they do to the kids," he said. Ben-Ari also said that once he was able to access his Knesset ID card, he was mocked by an officer who said, "Now you're under arrest, you can't show me your MK card." A Border Police spokesman said that following the violent disruptions by settlers near Yitzhar, the area's military commander ordered Ben-Ari's arrest. The claims of violence against Ben-Ari were false, the spokesman said. "Go online and look at the video they have up," the spokesman said. "If you look there, you'll see exactly what happened." In the video, which was later aired on the nightly news programs, Ben-Ari is seen sitting on the police vehicle and telling security personnel, "You can't touch me," before being pulled off. Ben-Ari falls to the ground and covers his head before being picked up and carried away. No violence is seen in the video, which cuts off abruptly.