Witnessing An Arrest In Jerusalem

On Saturday night at approximately 7:30pm, I arrived in Jerusalem from Modi’in on my way to visit a friend.

I crossed the road to the rakevet ha’kalah (the light rail train) aware of the fact that it currently represents a desired target for terrorist attacks.

Vigilant as I feel I must be, I felt assured as I witnessed two Israeli security guards patrolling the station. They looked at each person they passed up and down without any attempt to hide that they were on a mission to prevent terrorists from boarding the train.

Seconds after I arrived, the guards requested from a hooded boy standing next to me, of around 20 years of age, his identity card which every Israeli carries. After the boy, with a heavy Arab accent, refused three times he finally produced his I.D.

Having checked it, the security then requested to look inside the old carrier bag in his hand which clearly contained various unknown articles. This time, the boy refused. The following exchange transpired:

Guards: “Open the bag please.”
Suspect: “No.”
Guards: “Why not?”
Suspect: “Because I don’t want to.”
Guards: I am not joking. Open the bag.”
Suspect: “No. I don’t want to.”
Guards: “You are going to open it. Open it.”
Suspect: “No.”
Guards: “Ok come with us.”

At this stage, the suspect was taken by the arm to the side, as he resisted very lightly, to a metal fence approximately 5 meters away from me.

While I was unable to hear the exchange of dialogue, it took several minutes before the boy agreed to empty his bag.

Eventually the train arrived and the boy immediately began walking to enter without being released. As they walked after him he ran on and grabbed onto a pole inside the train and began screaming as the guards pursued him. Knowing that they had just seconds before the train departed, they grabbed him and forcibly pulled him back into the street.

The boy resisted with all his strength and the security personnel dragged him onto the floor in order to apprehend him.

The suspect repeatedly screamed “where are the police? Where are the police?” The entire time the boy resisted and screamed as he was arrested.

Throughout, I continued to observe the area as I understood that I, and the bystanders, were now an easy and distracted target should a terrorist choose to strike.

As a crowd began to gather around him, I expected the situation to deteriorate. Yet with all sincerity and honesty, I can say that absolutely no acts of violence or undue force were committed by the security guards.

I can also add categorically that despite the brutal and racist image that Israel has acquired by way of manipulative photography by various organizations which have deliberately embarked on a campaign of demonization, absolutely no racist comments or incitements of violence were uttered.

I have no doubt that had such organizations been blessed with such an opportunity to capture the incident, they would have depicted the entire episode in a most damning fashion as brutal Israelis arrest an Arab victim simply demanding that the police answer his cries to free him from such an injustice.

Yet the suspect blatantly resisted without any provocation and refused to produce the content of his bag at a time when terror is rife. Critics may argue that simply by interrogating the man is a form of unnecessary harassment against which he has attempted to take a stand.

Yet before they assert such naive and dangerous statements, we must remind ourselves that if only similar preventative techniques had been employed against the perpetrators of all the recent attacks in Israel, (had they been caught) lives could have been saved.

I do not know whether the suspect was, in fact, in possession of a weapon but the key question is surely “what if?”

The brave security guards potentially prevented another massacre. Had the suspect, in the final analysis, been innocent, we may all rest in the knowledge that those charged with the task of protecting the citizens of Israel were, in this incident, prepared to take no risks. Indeed no Israeli lives were to be endangered as illogical sensitivity and sympathy took precedence over logical safety and security.

We should all, including misleading anti-Israel media outlets, understand that sympathy for a resisting suspect is something that we are absolutely compelled to sacrifice in the name of saving Israeli lives.

Indeed, we should be prepared to do so for as long as we bear the misfortune of living under constant fear of murderous attacks and until normality is restored.

About the Author
Alexander Apfel holds a BA and MA in Modern History. He is an IDF reservist in the armored corps.