Reporters Without Borders condemns assault on film-maker Benchetrit and demands investigation

first_img IsraelMiddle East – North Africa May 16, 2021 Find out more WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists to go further IsraelMiddle East – North Africa May 28, 2021 Find out more News News Israel now holding 13 Palestinian journalists Follow the news on Israel June 3, 2021 Find out morecenter_img Reporters Without Borders said it was “shocked” by a brutal attack on award-winning Israeli documentary-maker David Benchetrit in front of the defence ministry in Tel Aviv, that has left him unable to walk for six months.The international press freedom organisation sent a letter on 26 April to the Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz, demanding a “swift and full investigation to find and punish those responsible for this unacceptable violence.”Benchetrit, who is currently making a film about “refuzniks”- Israeli soldiers, who as conscientious objectors refuse to serve in the Palestinian territories – was attacked on 21 April on his way to a meeting with defence ministry spokesperson Ruth Yaron.His wife, Sini Bar David, described what happened : “He was waiting on the pavement opposite the ministry when a security guard approached him and ordered him to identify himself, then struck him when he did not comply quickly enough.” Three more security staff then appeared and rained blows on him with their fists and butts of their guns.”In 30 years of covering wars, I have been injured several times, but I have never been as afraid as I was then and this round the corner from my home,” Benchetrit told Reporters Without Borders by telephone.”I don’t know if the guards recognised me and wanted revenge for my documentaries or if they thought I was an Arab because of my beard. In either case, it is extremely worrying that such a thing should happen in a democratic state,” he said.Following the attack, Benchetrit was taken by ambulance to Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv where surgeons found his right leg was very badly damaged and required surgery that took four and a half hours. Doctors said he will not be able to walk again for six months, but were unable to say yet if there was a risk he would be permanently lame.”Whether it was a racist attack or for political reasons, since Benchetrit’s documentaries tackle controversial subjects within Israeli society, the seriousness of this incident demands a strong and public reaction,” the international press freedom organisation concluded in its letter to the defence minister.Benchetrit has for many years produced hard-hitting documentaries on sensitive topics such as discrimination against Sephardic Jews in Israel, the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian uprising and the oppression of Palestinian women. Help by sharing this information April 26, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Reporters Without Borders condemns assault on film-maker Benchetrit and demands investigation News Receive email alerts Organisation RSF_en News RSF asks ICC prosecutor to say whether Israeli airstrikes on media in Gaza constitute war crimeslast_img read more