Rabbis call for external inquiry into death of youth killed during police chase

December 28, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Dozens of Israeli rabbis, including city rabbis and heads of yeshivot from across the spectrum, called on Minister of Internal Security Amir Ohana to establish an external commission of inquiry to investigate the death of Ahuvia Sandak and the police’s procedures.

Arrests, clashes, and blocked roads during the protest in front of The National Headquarters of the Israel Police in Jerusalem against police violence and the death of 16-year-old Ahuvia Sandak from the settlement of Bat Ayin, who was killed 5 days ago when his car was flipped over during a police pursuit. Jerusalem, Dec 26, 2020. Photo by Daniel Tzur Gilo/TPS

Sandak, 16, was killed Monday when the car he was driving in with another four youth was being chased by the police and overturned during the high-speed pursuit.

An initial inquiry shows that the police car rammed them from behind and caused a deadly accident. Furthermore, the police failed to properly treat the site of the accident.

Internal Affairs has launched an investigation.

In their letter, the rabbis wrote that they were “hurt by the shocking incident in which the dear boy Ahuvia Sandak was killed during a police chase that ended in a serious accident.”

“This is a very serious, painful and unprecedented event,” they wrote, warning that they “fear an abyss may open up between the Israel Police and large segments of the public, with an emphasis on the youth, in the wake of this tragedy.”

The rabbis stressed that “there is a public sense of the system’s wrong priorities” and the “enormous resources that are allocated to the treatment of a small group of settlement boys, while thousands of nationalist and criminal incidents affecting Israelis and IDF forces… are not addressed at all.”

Finally, the rabbis called for the establishment of an external commission of inquiry.

“It is extremely important to restore trust. There is no other way to do this than to establish an external commission of inquiry. A police commission of inquiry, or a check by Internal Affairs, although important, will not restore public trust and the damage affects us all,” they underscored.

They appealed to Ohana to exercise his authority as Minister of Internal Security and to establish an external commission of inquiry to examine the procedures of the Nationalist Crime Unit in the Judea and Samaria District.

The rabbis’ letter joins the letter from the heads of the Judea and Samaria councils, who also called for the establishment of an external commission of inquiry into the difficult case.

Sandak’s family is demanding that the officers involved in the incident be charged with murder.

The protests over Sandak’s death continued on Saturday night in Jerusalem. 26 demonstrators were arrested, including 12 minors.

The detainees complained of severe police violence during the arrests. Police also used cavalry and a water cannon to disperse the protesters.

12 policemen were injured in the clashes, some from rocks thrown at them.

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