MK demands probe into IDF beating of Druse family

Families claim two soldiers approached them, throwing rocks and yelling out anti-Arab slogans.

MK Shabib Shanan (Labor) sent an urgent letter late Saturday night demanding that IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi open an official probe into the seven IDF soldiers who allegedly physically attacked a Druse family spending Saturday on Atlit beach. The incident occurred over the weekend, when two Druse families set up two tents on the beach abutting the crusader fortress that serves as the headquarters of the elite Shayetet 13 unit. According to the families, two soldiers - not members of the elite unit, but rather enlistees serving as perimeter security guards - approached them, throwing rocks and yelling out anti-Arab slogans. A brawl broke out between the security guards and the families, with five more soldiers joining in. At least one of the soldiers allegedly beat one of the family members, Raid Zidan - who serves in a Border Police combat unit - repeatedly over the head with the butt of his personal weapon. Family members who were on the scene said that they believed that the guards were drunk when the incident took place. After suffering a beating, Zidan, his wife and children managed to flee, and police and Magen David Adom teams were called to the scene. Zidan was taken to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, where he was treated and released. He was later rehospitalized in Western Galilee Memorial Hospital in Nahariya in moderate condition. The soldiers were arrested by police officers, and tests conducted hours later indicated that a number of them did, in fact, have elevated levels of alcohol in their bloodstream. Under questioning by police, the soldiers claimed that the families, both of whom live in the Galilee town of Beit Jann, had attempted to enter a closed military zone and that the brawl broke out when they refused to leave it. The IDF supported the claim that the families had set up their tents in an area closed to civilians due to its proximity to the sensitive base. But throughout Saturday, the case was passed back and forth between Israel Police and military police, with the Israel Police detaining the soldiers after - they said - the Military Police had dragged their feet in responding to the incident. But later in the evening, after police announced that they had detained the seven as suspects, the investigation was transferred to the Military Police.