Two Police Officers Indicted for Violence on Lag BaOmer in Meron

The entrance to the kever of Rashbi in Meron. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The Police Investigations Unit in the State Prosecutor’s Office, through Attorney Shaked Dahan, filed an indictment at the Rishon LeTzion Magistrate’s Court against two Yasam police officers from the central district for an assault that caused injury under severe circumstances. The incident occurred at the end of the Lag BaOmer events in Meron earlier this year.

In May 2017, many police officers, including the defendants, Guy Ochayon and Yoav Pundaki, secured the Lag BaOmer celebrations in Meron. The complainant and his friends came to Meron to participate in the events, and at the end, he, and many others, came to the public transportation depot erected in Meron to board a bus. At one point, an argument ensued regarding their boarding of a bus, during which time Yoav Pundaki grabbed the complainant by his shirt, pulled him off the bus while cursing him.

Once he was taken off the bus, the defendants grabbed the complainant by his neck, forcibly bent his hand backwards and led him to a corner near the depot as they kicked him with no justified reason. While the complainant was being dragged, his yarmulke fell off, but despite his requests that they help him pick it up the defendants refused to do so. They even pugnaciously stomped on the yarmulke, telling the complainant, “You’re not worthy of wearing this kippah.” The complainant was taken to a corner and Yoav Pundaki bent the complainant’s head, split his legs very forcefully and began to beat him, as he continued cursing him.

Guy Ochayon turned to Pundaki and said: “Be careful with your hands near the bus — it’s full of cameras. If you want to take care of someone do it only here.”

Yoav Pundaki forcibly bent the complainant’s hands and continued to press his body towards the ground, as he cursed him the entire time. In response, the complainant began to cry, but the defendants did not let up and continued gripping him tightly and verbally harassing him. The complainant suffered physical injuries from the incident.