Suspects were released from custody
Aharonovtich and Mashiah in Beit Shemesh
Woman assaulted by haredi extremists demands answers from internal security minister who pledges not to allow any violations of the law. 'This will not be Iran,' he says
Natalie Mashiah, the woman who was assaulted by haredi extremists in Beit Shemesh last week, is demanding some answers. Meeting with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Jerusalem District Police chief Nisso Shaham, Mashiah demanded to know why her assailants had been released from custody.
Mashiah was assaulted by dozens of haredi extremists last week as she tried to post signs in Beit Shemesh. The assailants hurled stones at her, poured bleach in her car and spat on her. They also punctured her tires, stole her car keys and broke her windshield. "I thought I was going to die," she later said.
Aharonovitch and Shaham met Mashiah during a tour of Beit Shemesh. "I want to know why there isn’t enough manpower," she said. "When I called the police two terrified officers came. I pointed to my assailants and the officers told me not to worry and that by midnight all 15 attackers would be arrested. If we had enough officers who weren't so terrified maybe things would look differently.
She added, "The haredim know that it only takes a day or two before they are released after such an incident."
During the suspects' remand hearing, the court denied the police's request to extend their remand. One suspect was released on bail, another under restrictions and two to house arrest.
Minister Aharonovitch insisted that everything was done according to procedure. "Once an investigation is completed and there is no further need to hold the suspect, the court releases them until an indictment is filed. There is no need to hold various suspects in custody," he stressed.
He nevertheless stated, "I will not allow any violation of the law, any exclusion of women or spitting. This will not be Iran. Every person shall conduct themselves in a manner fitting for a free and democratic country.
The minister further added, "We are talking about very radical people. Not all the haredi public breaks the law, only small parts of it. Those radicals must be handled and the police are already handling some of them.
He then pledged not to allow "one sidewalk for seculars and one for the haredim. This will not happen in the State of Israel. There are no closed neighborhoods for specific groups.
He stressed that the police will back the Beit Shemesh Municipality in preventing women's exclusion signs from being posted.