Yehoshua Mordechai Kroizer was arrested at a protest against the destruction of an illegal building earlier in the week, a structure that was used as a shul in Beit Shemesh. Police claim he assaulted a policeman and threw rocks at police. However, a video of the events shows a different story entirely, and its was the police who were violent. In fact, one of the officers has now been suspended – after footage revealed that he dragged Kroizer by his Peyos as he walked him to a waiting police car.
On Friday, police arrested Kroizer, a resident of Beit Shemesh who participated in the protest against the destruction of an illegal building being used as a shul earlier in the week. The protest on erev Shabbos, on Ben Ish Chai Street in the Cheftziba neighborhood, resulted in police protecting municipal workers who arrived to clean the graffiti against Mayor Aliza Bloch, who is referred to as a “terrorist” for destroying the shul. At the arraignment hearing in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, Kroizer was charged with assault and throwing rocks at police. His attorney embarrassed police during the hearing.
From the video, which was published by Kikar Shabbos News, one sees Kroizer standing next to a parked car, not in the center of the protest, and a policeman approached him, assaulted him, pushed him, smacked him and then dragged him and knocked him to the ground while other policemen joined in.
At the court hearing, a police representative described the events that occurred. He explained during the afternoon hours; police escorted city officials to protect them while they executed a demolition order. “The crowd began to gather and attack police as they actively resisted, using violence as they shouted ‘Nazi'”. The police representative labeled Kroizer ” a dominant figure in the protest among the many throwing rocks, claiming the policeman who tried arresting him encountered fierce opposition and violence, and he (Kroizer) attacked the policeman, leading to the policeman suffering a fractured leg.
Attorney Roi Politi, who is representing Kroizer, asked the court to release his client immediately, before Shabbos while police asked to remand him for five additional days to permit them to continue the investigation and gather evidence to indict Kroizer. Politi explained to the court that not only did his client not attack anyone, he was the victim of an unprovoked police attack. Police in response to the damaging video evidence told the court that the video was “partial” and the court did not see the events which occurred prior to what the video showed.
The court ordered Kroizer held until Sunday, and at the next hearing, police asked that Kroizer be released with restrictions, including a promise that he arrive at questioning when summoned by police, distancing him from future protests for five months, and a cash bail. The court accepted most of the demands made by police and appeared to have adopted the police version of events. According to the court, there was a reasonable case against Kroizer, stating that for as long as the video prior to the arrest is not present, then the suspicions against Kroizer remain.
Meanwhile, on Monday afternoon, police released a statement that the officer who pulled the peyos of a Kroizer has been suspended pending the outcome of the probe into events.
Minister Aryeh Deri responded too, stating, “The disgraceful appearance of a policeman pulling a chareidi man’s peyos while arresting him should shake every Israeli. The police must conduct a thorough examination of how such an incident, which borders on anti-Semitism, takes place within it, to deal with the case and ensure that such sights do not recur.
A straight line passes between the severe and unbridled incitement we witness toward the chareidi public and these images. I hope that this event will constitute a stop sign and an immediate change in the form of discourse towards the chareidi tzibur.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem/Photo Credit: Israel Police Spokesman Unit & “מחאות החרדים הקיצוניים”)