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Israeli police beat and taser young man for not wearing coronavirus mask

Brutal footage from Tel Aviv's Holon causes uproar on social media, as 24-year-old hospitalised after arrest
David Orel Biton, 24, was stopped on Friday evening (Screenshot)

Footage of two Israeli policemen beating and tasering a young man after they stopped him for not wearing a coronavirus mask in Holon, south Tel Aviv, has made waves on social media.

David Orel Biton, 24, was stopped on Friday evening and did not responded to the policemen's request to show them his identity card, which led to his arrest, Ynet reported.

Israel has introduced strict public health measures and regulations to tackle Covid-19, which includes handing out fines if people refuse to wear a mask in public.

A video of the incident went viral on Israeli social media, with many users appalled by the images of two policemen, one of which is reportedly a volunteer, brutally punching, beating and using a taser gun during the arrest.

A passerby who filmed the incident is heard telling the police: “Why are you hitting him? Take the ID card. He offered it to you.”

He then is heard shouting “stop, stop” and “you’ve beaten him senseless. Look, he’s bleeding”.

Biton was hospitalised in Wolfson hospital and brought in front of the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court to extend his detention on Saturday. He has now been released.

Translation: David Orel Biton, a 24-year-old resident of Holon, who was arrested on Friday night by police using punches in the face and taser gun for not wearing a mask, was released shortly after being arrested. The damages: head bruises, injury to the eye socket, a fractured rib and a cut lip.

Israeli police said that the film is just a portion of the whole incident and that the man resisted the arrest and caused injuries to the two policemen. They added that the suspect ignored them and kept talking in his phone.

The video does not show any resistance from Biton, however.

Ordering Biton's release, Judge Anat Yahav said: “I still can’t ignore the fact that the suspect suffered real injuries and had to be treated at the hospital, and I also can’t ignore that he is a young man without a criminal record.”

The case will be referred by the Israel police to an investigation unit within the Israeli justice ministry.

Israel is facing a second wave of coronavirus after it successfully controlled the first that hit the country in March.

The Israeli government is planning to impose restrictions again and close gyms, nightclubs, bars and parks, as well as halt cultural events and limit time for beach-goers.  

Israeli has recorded 30,162 cases of coronavirus and 332 deaths.