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Israeli Security Guard Kills Mentally Ill Jew at Kotel

A 45 year-old mentally ill Jewish man, known to those who frequent the Kotel as a volunteer for Chabad’s soup kitchen there, was shot ten times (Hebrew) by a private security guard and killed.  The man’s crime?  Aside from being mentally ill (he was known to have told others that he converted to Islam), he was believed by the killer to have shouted “Allahu Akbar,” which turns out to have been false.  The guard, trying to defend the indefensible, claims he saw the man removing something from his pocket.  I’m certain if the man had anything in his pocket, authorities, eager to justify the killing, would’ve told us.  No, this is yet another case of the Israeli security state chewing up and swallowing its own.

Walla reports the guard is an Israeli Druze who was working for the firm, Modiin Ezrahi (“Civilian Intelligence”).  The fact that he has to be a native Arab-speaker would indicate he should’ve known whether the victim was saying the Arabic words “Allahu Akbar” or not.  The whole thing stinks to high heaven.  This incident recalls another infamous one in which Bedouin IDF sniper, Taysir Hayb, murdered British filmmaker Tom Hurndall.

Israeli MK David Dahan, who prays at the Kotel every morning and knew the victim said:

He sat in the [Kotel] plaza and read the newspaper.  Then he went to the restroom and returned complaining about the Mossad [ed., or “establishment” in the sense of ‘power élite’]: “This Mossad!”  He’s known for this.  He walks around talking to himself.  He’s anti-establishment, perhaps from being homeless.

So you can see that a deranged man’s mumbling about the power elite was confused with swearing allegiance to Allah.  All of which brought him to a pine box at the Mount of Olives.  Now he doesn’t need to worry about finding a home.  Israel will pay for his eternal resting place.

Another Kotel regular who knew of the victim and his eccentricities tried to justify the killing by saying that the killer and victim had engaged in a shouting match in which the Jewish man had said he hated Druze and would kill the security guard.  Then, the source said, the victim shouted “Allahu Akbar” and placed his hands in his pockets.  Now tell me how a mentally ill fellow who’d defamed your Druze ethnicity and turned around and then shouted a Muslim slogan, should be deemed a lethal terrorist threat.  It simply makes no sense.

The director of the Chabad soup kitchen where he volunteered and received food said he’d been a client for many years during which she’d never seen evidence of any violent tendencies in the man.

Though I don’t know who employed this guard, it’s well-known that the extremist-settler group Elad employs such security guards to protect Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.  They’ve been known to brutalize Palestinians regularly including in one instance running over Palestinian boys and in another shooting a boy to death.  It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that this security guard is in that mold and employed by a similar group.

There is simply no excuse for killing anyone at what is supposedly (though I dislike this notion) Judaism’s holiest site for being mentally ill and behaving in a slightly asocial manner.  Even if there is a threat, which there wasn’t–TEN bullets!?   There will be no discipline for this crime.  The guard will be surrounded by well-wishers saying, tut, tut, you did nothing wrong.  It couldn’t be helped.  Better to shoot first and be wrong than not to shoot at all and have a terror attack you could’ve stopped.  It’ll all be nonsense.  Justification for murder.

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • yankel June 21, 2013, 4:22 AM

    One correction:
    “HaMossad” (literally “the institute”) means – in a context-free situation – “The Mossad” (an Arabs-killing organisation for would be peaceniks).
    “HaMimsad” means “the establishment” (i.e. “the system”).

    • Richard Silverstein June 22, 2013, 1:00 AM

      That’s right. He was probably referring to the Mossad. But I thought he might’ve been referring to the social justice situation & his lack of housing and so Mossad would somehow be linked to the thought of Israel’s elite, or “the system,” as you wrote.

  • Anyn. June 21, 2013, 7:05 AM

    A druze who killed a jew at the Kotel will not be disciplined? You seem to be confusing Goyim with Jews.

    Whatever the the facts of the case, the security guard is looking at many many years in prison.

  • Oui June 21, 2013, 8:54 AM

    The security guard who shot dead Doron Ben-Shlush, 46, near the Western Wall in Jerusalem was silent in his interrogation and refused to give his own version of events – so was revealed in his remand hearing on Friday in the city’s Magistrate’s Court. The man is suspected of murder, and the judge remanded him until Tuesday. His Lawyer said in court that his client is “a new security guard, who doesn’t know everyone.” But the judge insisted on the seriousness of the event which “culminated in the death of a man.”

    The suspect’s lawyer said in court that his client served with distinction in the IDF. According to him, “he is the salt of the earth, and was a candidate for a sensitive position.” Link – YnetNews.

    • Mary Hughes-Thompson June 21, 2013, 6:03 PM

      It was reported the victim was mistaken for a Palestinian, which of course would have absolved his killer from prosecution. The claim the victim was yelling and was thought to be reaching for a weapon would have been enough to condemn him to death. There wouldn’t have been any arrest or investigtion. So I don’t see this as Israel chewing up and swallowing its own so much as this guard feeling he had the green light to shoot and kill Palestinians he found offensive. It’s hard to believe the guard would have committed this crime had he known the victim was Jewish. Had the victim been Palestinian there would have been no crime.

      • Nimrod June 23, 2013, 3:17 AM

        Where do you read that the victim was mistaken for a Palestinian?

        • Mary Hughes-Thompson June 23, 2013, 7:40 PM

          There were many such reports. Here’s one:

          link to irishtimes.com

        • Richard Silverstein June 23, 2013, 7:53 PM

          How many Israelis would think they heard someone shouting “Allahu Akbar” & NOT think it was a Palestinian.

          • Nimrod June 23, 2013, 10:57 PM

            @Mary, Richard:

            In Ha’aretz report, it did not say that they thought that the man was a Palestinian. I’m guessing that the irishtimes reporter added this remark.

            From what I’ve read in the Hebrew version of Haaretz and Yediot Aharonot (Ynet printed edition), they said the man, who was familiar with the guards, came towards them, shouted “Allahu Akbar” and tried to pull something out of his pocket – And that’s a quick way to get yourself killed, even if you’re Jewish. If he wasn’t mentally ill, I’d say it was a suicide-by-security-guards.

            BTW Richard, most Israelis differentiate between Israeli-Arabs and Palestinians, including Arabs. If I came over to my childhood friend who is a Bedouin Muslim and called her a Palestinian, she would think I bumped my head.

          • Richard Silverstein June 24, 2013, 2:00 AM

            Again, any Israeli who heard anyone in public say Allahu Akbar would think he was Palestinian. No news report even needed to say that. It’s simply obvious & understood except to someone like you.

            Further, “Israelis” do nothing of the sort concerning what you claim. Or did you forget there are Israeli Jews and Israeli Palestinians who are “Israeli?” Israeli Palestinians don’t call themselves “Arab.” That’s an Israeli Jewish habit and a nasty, insulting one. So if you want to continue being culturally obtuse and racist on that score, be my guest. But it sure shows off your deficiencies.

            There are Palestinians and Israeli Palestinians. Any half-way educated person can understand the distinction.

            Frankly, I don’t trust anything you claim on behalf of your Bedouin friend since you have no right to speak for her. This is a common phenomenon around here by some Israelis who like to tell us what Palestinians and Muslims think. You should avoid this habit as well. Bedouins are sui generis in terms of their ethnic identity. Asking them whether they consider themselves Israeli Palestinian might get a different answer than asking an Israeli Palestinian say from Nazareth or Jafo that question; but it might not.

          • Nimrod June 24, 2013, 7:58 AM


            The New York times refers them as Israeli-Arabs, at least in some of its articles. If Israeli Jewish habit and a nasty, insulting one, than someone should send them an angry letter.
            for example:
            link to nytimes.com

            And it is a fact that some non-jewish Israelis see themselves a Israeli-Arabs and have nothing to do with the Palestinians.
            If you came up to an IDF soldier from the “desert ranges” (also nicknamed the Bedouin rangers) and called him a Israeli-Palestinian, you might lose some of your teeth.

          • Richard Silverstein June 24, 2013, 10:54 AM

            @Nimrod: again, you’re speaking on behalf of Bedouins & I wasn’t aware they’d appointed you their spokesperson. Also, contrary to your belief, the NYT isn’t an arbiter of proper usage when it comes to Palestinian matters.

          • Mary Hughes-Thompson June 24, 2013, 7:35 AM

            I would never refer to a Palestinian Israeli as an Arab, nor would any Palestinian Israeli I know. A good percentage of Israeli Arabs are Jewish, so it would be misleading to lump all Israeli Arabs together, at least to most Israeli Jews who like to be classified as Jewish regardless or their ethnicity.

          • yankel June 24, 2013, 10:41 AM

            What the h are you talking about … I’ve never met Palestinian Israelis who wouldn’t refer to themselves as Arabs.

            Sadly, most Israeli Druze and nearly all Jewish Arabs, would take strong offence being referred to as “Arabs”.

          • Mary Hughes-Thompson June 24, 2013, 10:54 AM

            The fact you find it so offensive to point out that many Israeli Jews are Arabs is evidence you consider the word “Arab” to be an insult. Many Jews, including some pretty famous ones, insist they are Arab Jews. Why should that bother you? I personally feel Arab Jews are the ones who have legitimate claim to live in historic Palestine, though I respect that European Jews have the right to live there, or at least they have to right in that portion of Palestine that became Israel in 1947-48. And we must be meeting different Palestinian Israelis. I never met one who wouldn’t consider himself Palestinian first.

          • yankel June 24, 2013, 11:22 AM

            I’d NEVER consider being referred to as Arab – or any other ethnicity, for that matter – as an offence.
            If you read my reply, you’d see that I was referring to a factual state of affairs which I consider sad.

          • Mary Hughes Thompson June 24, 2013, 11:41 AM

            Thank you for clarifying that. I’m glad to know you are not one of those who deny there is such a thing as an Israeli Arab Jew. I imagine you can see why then it makes no sense to refer to Palestinian Israelis as Arabs, since an Israeli rab can be a Palestinian (Christian or Muslim) or a Jew. I suggest we define Israelis as Israeli Jews, Israeli Palestinians, or “other Israelis” meaning neither Palestinian nor Jewish. There’s no reason really to ever use the word “Arab”, and I’ve been glad to see that in most cases Israeli media refer to Israeli citizens as just that, unless their ethnicity or religion is intrinsic to the story being reported.

          • yankel June 24, 2013, 11:47 AM

            Matter settled, I guess.

          • Richard Silverstein June 24, 2013, 11:00 AM

            @yankel: Yes, they are “Arabs” in a generic sense, just like you are a Jew. But in the Israeli context they are Israeli Palestinian just as you are (at least I think) an Israeli Jew.

            If I were to say your only identity is that of “Jew,” you would rightly bristle.

            “Israeli Arab” divorces Palestinians from their specific claim & relationship to Palestine & so is both incorrect & unacceptable to most Israeli Palestinians.

          • yankel June 24, 2013, 11:42 AM

            I’m afraid you’re wrong here. Twice.

            Decades ago, when Diasporaic-Jewishness was considered inherently inferior to the brave new Israeliness, I proudly identified myself as a Yid (have you noticed my nickname above?)

            And again, the fact is that – regardless of Mary’s claims – at least within Israel, most Muslems and indigenous local Christians would consider themselves Arabs and (sadly!) the vast majority of Jews would consider such reference (to themselves) an offence.

  • yankel June 24, 2013, 10:40 AM

    What the h are you talking about … I’ve never met Palestinian Israelis who wouldn’t refer to themselves as Arabs.

    Sadly, most Israeli Druze and nearly all Jewish Arabs, would take strong offence being referred to as “Arabs”.

    • yankel June 24, 2013, 10:43 AM

      Ooops, this was meant to reply to Mary Hughes-Thompson’s later comment below.

  • Noam June 24, 2013, 3:08 PM

    @ Richard, the way i pay off my university tuition is by working as a security guard – i’ve been one for 4 yrs now so i think i have some experience in regards to this subject.
    “The guard will be surrounded by well-wishers saying, tut, tut, you did nothing wrong.” – i’m sorry but here you are way off. if you have been in one training of ours which includes some law studying – ‘when the law permits to use your weapon’. there are three guidelines – you need to identify a weapon, you need to identify that the alleged aggressor is endangering your life or someone in your surroundings and you need the aggressor to be able to hurt you (e.g – if you see someone from a 100 meters with a knife shouting “allah huakbar” and running towards you are not allowed to fire at him – he can’t stab you from that distance).
    there’s a large grey area but the rule that guides security guards and the judges later in trial is that if you could prevent firing your weapon by any means necessary and you did fire, than you are guilty – at least to some extent. in this case the security guard was clearly wrong – he didn’t identify any weapon. the fact that he fired 10 rounds will also prove that he didn’t operate as he should. so i think you are wrong – and like in many past similar incidents he will be indited.

    about the “modi’in ezrahi’ mold – that is also a generalization that is irrelevant. that company is a contractor company (or man power company) which in general, the only responsibility they have towards the guard is to pay him. the training isn’t done by them – it’s done by other arm instructors companies, and they train all the other contractors companies as well. most of the time, even if you working in the same contractor you are giving service to different companies and you are working under different rules and different sites.

    about the “israeli security state” – how can you judge us? you are not experiencing living in israel. only ten years ago bombs were going off in the middle of major cities on almost a daily basis. you as an american can’t grasp the notion of not having a security check at the entrance of any public place (and that’s a good thing – i wish that could have been the case here) but here, the collective memory of not too long ago still echos and we grew a custom to that reality – and these security check and security guards saved lives.

  • DavidL July 7, 2013, 12:13 AM

    “There will be no discipline for this crime. The guard will be surrounded by well-wishers saying, tut, tut, you did nothing wrong. It couldn’t be helped. Better to shoot first and be wrong than not to shoot at all and have a terror attack you could’ve stopped. It’ll all be nonsense. Justification for murder.”

    Your prediction is 100% wrong. You made an erroneous claim and earlier tried to connect ‘such security guards” (what the hell does that mean…. that he was a Druze??) who you seem to think all “have it in” for the Palestinians. Well in this case it was a Druze who “had it in” for a mentally challenged Jew who make a racial slur. The security guard, so it appears, planned and carried out pre-meditated murder/revenge on the poor guy (that is what I read in a Yediot report…not on-line I don’t think).

    NOBODY was patting this security guard on the back. The security guard has been charged with murderer and deserves the punishment he should get for killing an innocent person.

    link to haaretz.com

    Please try and remember this case when you cavalierly accuse Israel of failing to serve justice.

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