Cop accused of ‘turning in’ Jewish women consorting with Arabs

Border policeman indicted for sending extremists pictures of woman’s ID card after finding Jewish women traveling in car with Arab men

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A stack of Israeli identification cards, January 22, 2008. (photo credit: Anna Kaplan/ Flash90)
A stack of Israeli identification cards, January 22, 2008. (photo credit: Anna Kaplan/ Flash90)

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday indicted a Border Police officer for turning over the identities of a Jewish woman in the company of Arab men over to far-right extremist activists.

According to the indictment, while he was on duty in East Jerusalem some 18 months ago, Matan Amihai pulled over a vehicle for a routine check and discovered two Jewish women riding in a car with two Arab men.

The four told Amihai they were on their way to Eilat for the weekend.

While looking over their IDs, he secretly snapped a picture of one of the girls’ ID cards with his cellphone and forwarded it to extremist group leaders asking them to intervene, according to the Walla news site.

“Attached is the identity of a Jewish girl who is on her way to Eilat with a friend and two Arab guys (from Silwan). I wanted to cry when I saw this. Michael, please anonymously pass this along to the relevant parties,” he wrote to former far-right former politician Michael Ben Ari in the accompanying message.

He also sent a similar plea for help to Bentzi Gopstein, head of extremist anti-assimilation group Lehava, urging him to “please do something, we [the Border Police] are helpless in the face of this kind of thing.”

The indictment noted that Amihai admitted his actions violated the woman’s privacy. He faces charges of invasion of privacy and abuse of his position as a police officer.

Lehava, a group dedicated to preventing marriage between Jews and Arabs, is identified with the extreme Jewish right and its members have been seen patrolling downtown Jerusalem on some evenings, looking, they say, for mixed couples.

Their vigilante patrols have often degenerated into scuffles, and there were several instances over the past year where members of the organization have beaten Arabs. Most of the organization’s members are teens.

Some Israeli politicians have recently called on the government to outlaw the group, whose members have been implicated in several hate crimes.

Ben Ari is an outspoken disciple of the late rabbi Meir Kahane, a noted anti-Arab activist, and has called for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel.

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