Israel Police Sgt.-Maj. Barak Meshulam was killed in a suspected ramming attack early Sunday morning at a checkpoint on Highway 4 near Ra’anana. The suspect is a 17-year-old Palestinian from the area of Ramallah who used a stolen vehicle, the police said in a statement.
According to police, the vehicle was stolen from the Gush Dan area. After running the policeman over, the suspect escaped the scene on foot. He was later arrested by police; his arrest was extended on Sunday by a day.
Meshulam leaves behind a wife, Ariel, and two children, Alma and Leo. His funeral took place on Sunday at 6 p.m. in Kfar Saba.
The background and motive of the killer has not yet been clarified.
Barak Meshulam's story
“Tonight we lost a dear officer,” Israel Police said in its statement. Meshulam, born in 1992, began serving in the police through his mandatory service from 2011 to 2014 in the Border Police and then continued as an officer in the Kfar Saba station.
“Israel Police lost a dear officer tonight, one who performed his job exactly as he was supposed to, as an officer and a defender of the public. Barak heard on the intercom of a stolen vehicle coming to his operational area. He arrived at the intersection and blocked it off, hoping to capture the vehicle and its driver,” Israel Police Chief Koby Shabtai said.
“This is a daily activity that is done by thousands of police officers. This incident only goes to show the brunt that our officers carry and how much they put on the line for the safety of the public,” he said.
“In every operation, he was the first to breach and served as an example of initiative and professionalism,” he concluded.
“Barak lost his life tonight standing between a criminal and civilians,” said Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev. “This serves as another example of the very central place that Israel Police officers take in the fight against terror and crime.
“A police officer has the right to open fire towards anyone who endangers the lives of officers while trying to break through a police checkpoint,” Shabtai said. “That’s how it’s been and that’s how it will be.”
"A police officer has allowance to open fire towards anyone who endangers the lives of officers while trying to break through a police checkpoint. That's how it's been and that's how it will be."Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai
Bar Lev warned that the criminal who killed Meshulam “will pay a heavy price for his criminal act,” in a eulogy at Meshulam’s funeral on Sunday afternoon.
“We have no choice but to treat such a criminal as a murderer, and the punishment should be accordingly,” said Bar Lev. “There is no doubt that when a police officer is in danger of death when a vehicle rushes toward him and threatens to injure him – or in any other life-threatening situation – the police officer may neutralize the potential killer.”
Bar Lev recounted how Meshulam joined the police force just about a month after being released from compulsory service in the Border Police.
“Barak knew that any operation to which he would be sent involved a risk to his life, but he did not shy away from it. He always sought contact, always acted to place himself as a buffer between the citizens and the perpetrators of crime and terrorism,” added the minister. “With courage, determination and human heroism, Barak was simply there – for all of us.”
Participants could be heard in video footage shouting “shame,” “coward” and “you’re sitting with terrorism supporters” at Bar Lev and Shabtai during the funeral.
“Start protecting the policemen here, all the friends of my husband, and also the wives of the policemen – that tomorrow this could be the funeral of their husbands because you don’t give them permission to shoot. Shame! You’re not protecting the policemen,” Meshulam’s wife shouted at Bar Lev.
"They murdered my child. This wasn't an accident. It was premeditated murder."Barak Meshulams mother
The fallen officer’s mother eulogized Barak, saying that “It is not natural for a mother and father to bury their child. They murdered my child. This wasn’t an accident. It was premeditated murder.”
Meshulam’s death comes just over a month after police volunteer Amichay Carmeli was killed when a drunk driver rammed into him near Beit Dagan.