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Israeli police beat up and kneel on the face of left-wing Jewish lawmaker

(JTA) — Israeli police beat up a left-wing member of parliament and one officer knelt on his face, drawing outcry from across the political spectrum.

Ofer Cassif, the only Jewish member of the Arab-Israeli Joint List party in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, was at a protest against evictions in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah Friday when he became involved in an altercation with police. The police shoved him to the ground and video from the protest shared on social media shows an officer placing his knee on Cassif’s face.

“The police are going crazy here, they’re not letting people demonstrate,” said Cassif, according to the Times of Israel. “They were told I was a Knesset member, it did not interest them.”

Police are investigating the incident.

Members of Knesset, including those on the right, condemned the officers’ treatment of Cassif.

“Brutal behavior like this toward any citizen is improper, let alone a Knesset member who is entitled by law to freedom of movement so he can fulfill his role,” said Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, according to the Times of Israel. Bezalel Smotrich, a far-right lawmaker, called it “grave and unacceptable.”

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