Lawlessness and Disorder–The Failure of Israel’s Police Force

Haim Watzman

The most frightening piece in today’s Ha’aretz doesn’t appear on the newspaper’s website, in either Hebrew or English. It’s Gidi Weitz’s essay on how the police responded when a pal from his weekly soccer game got beaten up by some roughnecks who didn’t like where he’d parked his car.

There was no police response to speak of. The policeman who arrived a half hour later in response to Weitz’s call was uninterested, took some scratchy notes, and told Weitz’s friend that he could file a formal complaint at the police station. When the policeman left, the assailants threatened the friend that if he complained they would make his life miserable. As a consequence, the friend’s wife panicked and refused to allow her husband to file a claim. When Weitz convinced his friend to accompany him to the police station anyway, the cop on duty showed no interest. All this—beating, initial police response, and subsequent police apathy—took place in the presence of the friend’s 18-year old son.

Weitz’s piece appears in the midst of a wave of violent attacks and murders of Israeli civilians by other Israeli civilians. Dismembered bodies have been discovered in trash bins and a Tel Aviv father was beaten to death on the city’s beachfront promenade, in front of his family, by a gang of young men and women who had been drinking.

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