Police praised for brutality against Jewish settlers, says victim of severe beating

Samaria man’s lawyer says his client is a “police punching bag” who has been persecuted by the authorities for his pro-settlement activity. 

By World Israel News Staff

An Israeli man who was beaten by police during a demonstration said that a high-ranking police supervisor praised his team for their use of disproportionate violence against protesters.

Neria Zarog, a father of four and resident of Geva in Samaria, had traveled to the nearby outpost of Ramat Migron on Tuesday to protest the dismantling of the communities by Israeli authorities.

“I came to protest against the harassment of the residents, and suddenly policemen jumped on me and three other people and dragged us to the jeep,” Zarog told Israel National News.

“The second there were no cameras around, he slammed me onto the floor of the jeep and simply started breaking me apart with his fists. He put boxing gloves on his hands and punched me in the eye and temple one after another.”

Zarog was treated the next day at a hospital for a black eye and bruised ribs. But beyond the physical pain, he said he was particularly distrubed by a police supervisor’s praise and encouragement for the rough treatment he had received.

“It was just shameful and also humiliating,” Zarog added. “Later at the police station, [Senior] Officer Almakais boasted to his subordinates and pointed at me, ‘Nice job – did you see how he cried in the jeep?'”

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Zarog has had numerous run-ins with the police on past occasions. A resident of the former outpost of Kumi Ori, he refused to leave his home in 2020, despite an evacuation order, and was violently removed from the site by police.

In January 2021, Zarog was arrested at home in a dramatic police raid. Officers burst into his house, in violation of standard procedure, which would require a phone call or letter asking him to come to the nearest police station. The arrest was regarding an incident that occurred a month earlier, although that investigation ended with no criminal charges.

Zarog’s attorney, Menashe Yado, of the Honenu NGO, told media that he is a “police punching bag” and said that the Israeli authorities have disproportionately targeted his client for his pro-settlement and Zionist protests.