Lapid demands attorney general crack down on police violence after video of doctor’s arrest

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Writing to Attorney General Gali Baharav Miara, Opposition Leader Yair Lapid demands increased oversight of the police in light of Saturday evening’s violent arrest of a doctor treating a woman at an anti-government protest in Tel Aviv.

“Week after week the harsh scenes of violence and the use of inappropriate force against the people repeat, just yesterday tough footage was published of policemen beating and dragging a doctor while he was providing medical aid on the sidewalk. These are unimaginable pictures. The conduct of the police crossed every line,” he writes.

Calling the protesters non-violent “loyal patriots,” Lapid writes that the police have a “responsibility to protect them, not to attack them with violence” and that the “role of the police is to allow them to protest and express their concern and pain in the public space.”

“I would ask you to exercise your authority… and instruct the police to act sensitively and above all according to the law and to preserve freedom of expression and protest,” he adds.

Claims of police violence against protesters have linked officers’ conduct to National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who has pushed police operating under his ministry to ratchet up enforcement actions against demonstrators critical of the government, particularly those who are not right-wing or Haredi.

“This is the time to exercise supervision and monitor the conduct of the police officers and remind them that this is not Ben Gvir’s police. This is the Israel Police,” Lapid adds.

Earlier in the day, President Isaac Herzog also spoke out against the actions seen on the video, saying it was “disturbing,” and calling for the issue to be “checked into deeply and comprehensively.”

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