Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Former Border Guard officer Orian Ben Khalifa in court, May 2, 2023.

Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Joya Skappa-Shapiro on Tuesday convicted Border Guard officer Orian Ben Khalifa of assault, but acquitted her of obstruction of justice. The incident took place in November 2021 while Ben Khalifa was serving as an enlisted Border Guard officer. She was accused of pushing a young Arab woman who wanted to pass through an area that was blocked by official order.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir issued a response saying, “It’s strange that the same judge who acquitted a police officer who punched a Haredi boy, claiming it should be understood that the officer ‘does not work under lab conditions,’ did not take into account the fact that the female officer did not work under ‘lab conditions’ either.”


Later, Ben Khalifa led the complainant to the police point while holding her hair and neck, and when they arrived at the police point, she shouted at the complainant, strangled her by the neck, and shook her body violently, and a few minutes later she once again strangled her and shook her body.

Supporters of former Border Guard officer Orian Ben Khalifa stood outside the Jerusalem court with signs saying, ‘Orian is everyone’s daughter,’ May 2, 2023. / Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The court determined that after the accused pushed the complainant several times using illegal force, the mother and brother of the complainant tried to intervene, and it is not inconceivable that the complainant herself also pushed Ben Khalifa and resisted arrest. The accused pushed the complainant’s brother with her hands on his neck, cursed at the complainant, knocked her to the floor, and tried to grab her hands in an attempt to arrest her.

The indictment against Ben Khalifa claimed that as a result of her actions, the complainant suffered injuries to her neck and behind her ear. The verdict states that Ben Khalifa rushed to use force, although at that stage she did not have the justification to do so, and pushed the complainant several times with her body. The court rejected Ben Khalifa’s claim that the complainant was the first to attack.

The court was critical of the police internal affairs investigation, pointing out that the investigators avoided questioning some officers who witnessed the incident and did not make the least effort to locate these witnesses. The court also criticized the fact that the testimony of one of the witnesses was taken in the presence of another witness, who was used in translating the testimony, and other failures.

The court ruled that under these circumstances, convicting the accused of obstruction of justice, as demanded in her indictment, strongly contradicts any sense of justice, and so, it acquitted the accused of this charge.

Minister Ben Gvir said that as far as he was concerned, this affair is not over, and said he would consult the Police Commissioner and the Border Guard Chief on appealing the ruling.


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