I had an interesting conversation the other day with a friend of mine, a policeman in the Israeli Police. I was interested in certain details regarding the incident where a couple of weeks ago where an Arab bulldozer operator went on a rampage, using his bulldozer to kill three Jews and tens of others here in Jerusalem.
The official version of the story is as follows. A policewoman shot and wounded the terrorist, causing him to pass out and stop the rampage. Then another police officer climbed on the bulldozer and checked his pulse to see if the driver was indeed dead. At this point, according to the police, someone threw a rock at the terrorist, and this caused him to regain consciousness. (Please stop laughing. Stranger things have happened here!) He continued the rampage until Private M., an off duty soldier, took a gun from a security guard and shot the Arab. Afterwards a member of the SWAT team fired two more bullets into the terrorist.
According to rumors the policeman that took the terrorist's pulse instead of making sure that he would no longer murder was himself an Arab. My friend the policeman said that he didn't know the policeman but that he had also heard the rumor. As our conversation progressed I realized that this policeman knew less about the incident than I did. However, he told me some interesting facts that help explain why the police behaved the way they did.
He told me that police are not allowed to fire their weapons unless it is to stop an imminent danger. For example, if a policeman sees someone holding a Molotov cocktail he is forbidden to fire. If the person cocks his arm in order to throw the cocktail, the policeman can fire at him. Once the cocktail leaves the person's hand, the policeman is not allowed to fire, since this will not prevent anything; the Molotov cocktail is already airborne!
My policeman friend justified the action of his pulse-taking colleague, saying that he acted according to the law. He also claimed that it was against Jewish morality to kill the terrorist when he was lying there unconscious. I quickly corrected him and told him that according to Judaism killing this terrorist was a big Mitzvah. He replied saying that we don't live in Biblical times and that Israel is a democracy.
I then asked him another question: Why did the SWAT team guy fire at the gravely wounded terrorist? This was apparently contrary to the law which he had so eloquently and passionately explained to me! My friend did not have an answer.
I learned from this conversation that all a terrorist has to do after going on a killing spree is to play dead or raise his hands in surrender. If he does so no one is allowed to kill him and he will enter one of Israel's jails, complete with VCRs, DVDs and cellular telephones. He can sit and learn for his college degree in prison until the next "prisoner swap".
A victim of Arab terror and a victim of Israeli law: