The women of Lod have know for years that filing complaints with the police against violent men offers them scant protection. Still, few had dreamed that giving their details to the police could put them in further danger. But an article appearing on the Ynet news site in October suggested this may have been the terrifying case with a particular officer in the Lod station, who might have leaked confidential information that led to the murder of Rabab Abu Siam in July.
The detective, referred to only as R, had contact with the criminal, known only by the letter “Ayin” when he was arrested for selling drugs. It was not the first time the man had been arrested on drug charges, and the two were apparently familiar with one another. The question asked was: Why was an officer working on drug crimes using the police database to look up the names and addresses of women filing domestic abuse complaints, including Rabab? And why did R have more contact with Ayin than what would have been necessary in the course of her investigations? When the police internal investigations unit asked to see her cellphone and search her house, she refused.
The case was closed against R for lack of sufficient evidence, although she was dismissed from the force for conduct unbecoming an officer.
Rabab was shot in her parents’ home, with her young daughter sitting in her lap. She had been hiding away from her violent ex-husband, but had snuck back to her parent’s home in Lod just to hug her daughters. A masked man broke into the home and shot her multiple times. Who knew she would be there?
The suspicion – which cannot be proved – is that R had a relationship, intimate or other, with Ayin, and she conducted the searches for him, possibly related to the drug charges, at first. But Ayin, according to the article, may have realized the worth of the police database, and may have sold information on Rabab and her whereabouts for 100,000 NIS.
Just three days after the article appeared, the police arrested two men for yet another murder, that of a young man with no apparent ties to organized crime, who was killed in September. The police suspect these men may have been hired to commit other murders, as well, possibly that of Rabab. It was proof that the police are able to investigate crime and arrest alleged murderers when there is a bit of embarrassment to prod them into doing their jobs.
Even before the shocking details of R and Ayin came to light, there was little trust in the police. Can two arrests and a dismissal without charges restore the smallest shred of faith for women who require protection from violence? It is a question the police must answer, and there is quite a bit for which they must answer.