Last night, in another tragic case of mistaken identity, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 28 yr old Jewish man at a bus stop in Jerusalem.
According to police, two soldiers were waiting to get on the bus when a man getting off the bus asked them to show him their identification. They got suspicious and asked him for his ID. An argument ensued and he allegedly attacked them and tried to grab one of their guns. A civilian security guard in the area saw the scuffle, wrongly identified the man as a terrorist and shot at him. Then the soldiers opened fire, killing the man.
The victim was an immigrant from Russia who had served in the IDF in the Nahal Haredi (Ultra Orthodox) Brigade and had worked as a security guard in a school. He was currently studying at a yeshiva in Har Nof, Jerusalem. The rabbis at the yeshiva interviewed by Walla News couldn’t believe how something like this could have occurred. They all described the victim as a quiet, well mannered person who evidently made a bad mistake by arguing with the soldiers.
Police and IDF investigators are sorting through numerous testimonies that include very different facts. In one account the man shouted, “I am ISIS!” (could it have been like, “what, you think I’m ISIS?”). In another, a girl screamed, “Terrorist! Shoot him!”
The facts of the case will probably become clearer as the investigation continues.
So many factors in this case point to a very tragic and deadly mistake. The soldiers were part of the reinforcements sent to bolster security on buses. They weren’t trained to do police work and handle this kind of situation. The security guard shot before positively identifying who he was shooting at. He probably should have let the soldiers handle the situation. Fear and hysteria took over.
In a culture where arguing is commonplace and can often turn violent, this seems to be a case where mistakes were made and shots were fired when they shouldn’t have been. And a man is dead.