ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 146

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Cop killed in car ramming laid to rest; widow berates minister over open-fire rules

Master Sergeant Barak Meshulam, 29, a father of two, buried in Kfar Saba; Ramallah resident, 17, who ran him over at roadblock in stolen car being investigated for murder

  • Ariella Meshulam, the widow of police Master Sergeant Barak Meshulam, who was fatally run over by Palestinian teen driving a stolen car, confronts Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev at the funeral, July 17, 2022. (Twitter screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
    Ariella Meshulam, the widow of police Master Sergeant Barak Meshulam, who was fatally run over by Palestinian teen driving a stolen car, confronts Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev at the funeral, July 17, 2022. (Twitter screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
  • Police officer Barak Meshulam, killed July 17, 2022 (Courtesy)
    Police officer Barak Meshulam, killed July 17, 2022 (Courtesy)
  • Screen capture from video of the funeral of police Master Sergeant Barak Meshulam, who was fatally run over by Palestinian teen driving a stolen car, July 17, 2022. (Twitter)
    Screen capture from video of the funeral of police Master Sergeant Barak Meshulam, who was fatally run over by Palestinian teen driving a stolen car, July 17, 2022. (Twitter)

Police said Sunday that the 17-year-old Palestinian arrested in the deadly ramming of police Master Sergeant Barak Meshulam earlier in the day at a roadblock in central Israel is being investigated for murder.

The suspect, who has not been named, appeared in court before a judge Sunday afternoon, and was ordered remanded into custody for only a further day.

An attorney for the teenager denied that he intended to harm anyone, claiming that Meshulam’s death was a tragic accident.

Meshulam, 29, who was married with two children, was laid to rest in the military cemetery in his home town of Kfar Saba on Sunday evening.

Hundreds attended the ceremony, including Police Chief Kobi Shabtai and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, who is responsible for police.

“Love of my life for 11 years,” eulogized Meshulam’s wife, Ariella. “It is important you know that I am not angry. I keep telling them what an amazing father you are. I promise to be strong for them,” she said, referring to their children.

“You are a hero. It is hard for me to believe that I won’t see your face. I will love you forever.”

Meshulam’s mother, Zuki, described him as “the light of our lives, our foundation stone, the thread that connected us all.” She added that it “is not natural for a parent to bury their child,” decrying the incident as “premeditated murder.”

Police officer Barak Meshulam, killed July 17, 2022. (Courtesy)

Speaking at the ceremony, Shabtai said “the quiet nights for citizens are nights of war for police officers.” He said police view the death as a murder “in every way.”

“Tonight, Barak met a murderer, a dangerous criminal. The punishment needs to be suitable,” said Barlev at the ceremony.

As he spoke, Barak’s widow interrupted him, shouting through tears that “you don’t give them permission to shoot, you aren’t protecting them. They are like ducks.”

The Palestinian teenager from the West Bank city of Ramallah was allegedly driving a car he had stolen in the Tel Aviv area and was being pursued by police when he ran over Meshulam at a checkpoint on Route 4, near the city of Ra’anana.

The police officer was found lying dead on the road, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

The suspect was said to have then exited the vehicle, attempting to flee on foot. A police helicopter helped cops locate and arrest him shortly afterwards.

Screen capture from video of the widow of police Master Sergeant Barak Meshulam, who was fatally run over by Palestinian teen driving a stolen car, accosting Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, at her husband’s funeral, July 17, 2022. (Twitter)

Police have launched an investigation into the circumstances of the incident and were interrogating the suspect.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid opened the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday by sending condolences to Meshulam’s wife, Ariella, and his two young children: “We share in their grief.”

After the incident, the second such deadly ramming in a number of weeks, Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai clarified that officers are permitted to open fire on “anyone who endangers the lives of officers while attempting to break through a checkpoint.”

Earlier, an unnamed officer at the Kfar Saba station — to which the slain cop belonged — was quoted by the Ynet news site as saying: “Until we get permission to shoot in such instances, police officers will continue to be hit and murdered.”

Last month, volunteer police officer Amichai Carmely was killed when he was mowed down by a vehicle at a checkpoint set up to check for drunk drivers in the central city of Rishon Lezion.

Earlier this month, the alleged driver was charged with a number of offenses, including murder with depraved indifference.

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