Spike in complaints against Israel Police violence according to IDI study

In Israel, there has been a rise in the number of police violence complaints submitted to the Department of Internal Police Investigations (DIPI), which is part of the Justice Ministry, according to new data from the Israel Democracy Institute. 

According to the data, the average number of monthly police violence complaints increased by 45% in the first eight months of 2023 compared with the corresponding period in 2022.

Despite the alarming spike in complaints, the study done by Dr. Guy Lurie recommends caution on drawing conclusions from the data found, as it can be indicative of other factors as well, such as an increase in demonstrations where citizens are more likely to come into connect with the police.

Recent police violence accusations at protests

Although the study did not reflect data from the time of the Israel-Hamas war, there have been an overwhelming amount of protests recently demonstrating against the government and calling for the return of hostages from Hamas captivity.

In a recent complaint against Israel Police’s Hadera station officers at protests in Caesarea last week, a 55-year-old woman said that she was beaten by police at a rally.

Demonstrators clash with police during a protest calling for the release of Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip and against the current Israeli government near Hakirya Base in Tel Aviv, May 11, 2024. (credit: Itai Ron/Flash90)

Another protester said he heard threats from police, saying that a senior officer told a protester he would “break all the bones in [their] body.”

According to Lurie, the rise in police complaints found in the Israel Democracy Institute study must be taken seriously.

He also attributed the spike to governmental figures such as National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. 

“The increase in the number of complaints of police violence submitted to the DIPI over the last year raises serious questions, especially in light of the timing in which the current government and Minister of National Security [Itamr Ben-Gvir] took office. It is important that the police take these figures seriously and investigate the source of the phenomenon to verify that police officers only act in accordance with the law,” Lurie explained

Eve Young contributed to this report.