(JTA) – A Jerusalem chief rabbi visited the family of Iyad Halak, the autistic Palestinian man who was shot to death by Israeli Border Police, at their mourning tent in eastern Jerusalem. Aryeh Stern, the city’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, also met local Muslim leaders at the tent on Tuesday evening, June 2. Halak, of eastern Jerusalem, was shot in the Old City of Jerusalem by officers who said they thought the cellphone in his hand was a gun. Israel has apologized for the killing.
Stern, who was joined by Jerusalem Municipality officials, said he was coming with “a message of peace and reconciliation.” Halak’s father thanked him for the condolence visit.
Public Security Minister Amir Ohana said he would investigate Halak’s death. He also said that police officers “are required to make fateful decisions in seconds in an area that has been inundated with terror attacks, and in which there is a constant danger to their lives.” Ohana reportedly canceled a visit to the family for Tuesday after Halak’s father posted a video on social media in which he said he did not want visits from any government officials. On Wednesday, June 3 in the Knesset, Ohana called for police officers to be trained to recognize a person with a disability.
Main Photo: Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern, center, speaking to members of Iyad Halak’s family during a condolence call on June 2, 2020. (Courtesy: Jerusalem Municipality)