Police brutality against Haredi demonstrators in Kiryat Gat

On 15 September 2016, 17 Haredi Yeshiva students from Bet Shemesh arrived in Kiryat Gat, with the intention of holding a silent protest outside the house of the city’s Rabbi. The students were protesting against what they considered to be the Rabbi’s cooperation and support of the enlistment of Haredim into the army.


The protesters stood across the road from the Rabbi’s house and shouted and waved signs. They did not act violently or try to enter the house. Police arrived at the scene and unlawfully dispersed the legal demonstration. They detained and used excessive force against protesters, including pepper spray, which was unjustified in the circumstances.


ACRI Attorney Sharona Eliyahu-Chai petitioned the Chief of Police and emphasised the profiling of protesters in this case: The harsh treatment towards them was not related to their actions, but instead was due to their identification as members of the Orthodox community. Members of the community had been involved in other similar incidents outside the Rabbi’s house and were suspected of criminal offences. “Referring to all members of the Orthodox community as ‘one unit’ is discriminatory and is considered to be ethnic profiling – namely, a determination that someone is dangerous because of their membership in a racial, ethnic, national or religious group, without any information or indication that connects them personally and directly to activities that endanger the public.”


ACRI has asked the Chief of Police to examine the conduct of police involved in this protest, to bring those responsible for the misuse of police powers to justice, and to revoke the measures taken against the demonstrators and against the minibus driver who drove them. ACRI has also requested that the Chief of Police review the Kiryat Gat police station’s guidelines on dispersing demonstrations and to instruct the police to exercise  restraint during demonstrations, to preserve the fundamental rights of expression and protest and to maintain protesters’ rights to liberty and physical integrity.


Please click here to read the petition in Hebrew.


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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Racism and Discrimination, Right to Protest

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