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Report: Driver who Assaulted Passenger in Bnei Brak Supports Terrorists, Hamas Leader

A Hakol HaYehudi investigation reveals that the bus driver who assaulted a Jewish passenger expressed support for terrorists. The Head of the Kavim Worker’s Committee, who was previously suspected of involvement in attacks on Jews, lied to the Court.

  • Elchanan Gruner, Hakol Hayehudi
  • י"ב סיון תשפ"ד - 12:00 18/06/2024
גודל: א א א
Imran Atton's congratulatory message to the imprisoned terrorists, including Ahmed Atton, a Hamas official
Imran Atton's congratulatory message to the imprisoned terrorists, including Ahmed Atton, a Hamas official

In an attack in Bnei Brak last week, an Arab bus driver severely assaulted a Jewish passenger. The response to the attack demonstrates police incompetence, a lack of professionalism, and deliberate disregard of the nationalistic motivation.

Last week, footage surfaced showing a bus driver in Bnei Brak brutally attacking a passenger. The footage sparked outrage online and the driver was arrested.

However, despite the Jewish passenger's claim that the driver shouted nationalistic and Islamist epithets, the police did not investigate the incident for nationalistic motivations. The incident began after a passenger accidentally rang the bell leading the driver to curse in Arabic. Another passenger who understood Arabic responded, leading the driver to attack him with punches, choking, and multiple blows.

Support for terrorists

The driver, identified by HaKol HaYehudi as Imran Atun, is from a family that has allegiances to Hamas. Examination of his Instagram account reveals that Atun himself has expressed support for terrorists. 

In one post, he shared his condolences for Islamic Jihad militants killed by the IDF, while in another post, he shared photos of terrorist members from his family including senior Hamas member Ahmed Atun, a Hamas parliamentarian who has been arrested by Israel numerous times, had his residency revoked, and was deported from Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. Imran Atun expressed his hopes for his terrorist family members’ release from prison and blessed them for their part in the struggle.

Despite this, the police failed to investigate a nationalistic motivation to the assault. On Friday, Atun was brought to trial in the Magistrate Court where the police requested an extension of his detention. The Magistrate Judge accepted the police’s position, but on an appeal to the District Court, Atun was released to house arrest.

As part of his release, Atun was forced to find individuals who would sign bail guarantees on his behalf.

The Arabs lied to the Court

The main guarantor whose home Imran Atun was released to, is his brother Saber Atun. The police representative asked Saber in court if he had previous criminal convictions and Saber claimed he did not. It is worth noting that Saber was warned before answering to tell the truth or face the potential of being held in contempt. 

A Hakol HaYehudi investigation shows that Saber Atun was indeed convicted in the past of attacking a Jewish driver two years ago and also has an additional conviction on his record. In December 2023, during the war, Saber Atun was arrested in Jerusalem for attacking policemen who sought to inspect his vehicle at a checkpoint.

Another guarantor for Imran Atun was his cousin Mahdi Atun who is also Head of the Kavim Worker’s Committee according to his affidavit.

HaKol HaYehudi found that Mahdi was also arrested in 2017 on suspicion of participating in rioting against Jews mistakenly entered an Arab village.

HaKol HaYehudi contacted the police to determine if they would appeal the release to house arrest based on the criminal records of the guarantors and their lying to the court. 

In addition, we asked how, during the investigation, the police representative failed to check the criminal backgrounds of the guarantors? Finally, we inquired as to why the police neglected the possibility of a nationalistic motivation?

The police responded that "following the complaint, an investigation was opened in which the driver was quickly identified, interrogated, and finally imprisoned. The investigation is ongoing. Regarding the guarantors, although the court approved the guarantors, it was decided to replace them with different guarantors."

Attorney Haim Bleicher of the Honenu legal-aid organization is representing the victim and told HaKol HaYehdui that this is case is reflective of a broader problem. 

"This is a horrifying incident in which a bus driver, who is responsible for the lives of many citizens every day, got angry and immediately used anti-Semitic curses and demanded a Jewish passenger apologize to "Allah," while beating him, trying to gouge out his eyes with his fingers, and strangling him several times," said Bleicher.

"This attack is not an isolated incident. It turns out that the driver has published support for senior Hamas officials, and his family includes several other terror supporters with criminal records. This incident must be a warning to us about who serves as a driver for public transportation. We leave the lives of thousands of citizens in the hands of dangerous drivers like this every day. It's time to wake up before a tragedy befalls us."

The Kavim bus company said in response to HaKol HaYehudi: "When the driver returns to work after the conclusion of the investigation, we order him to attend a hearing and decide our next steps." The company did not comment on the previous arrest of the Head of its Worker’s Committee.

The Kavim Bus Company

It should be noted that this is not the first incident of assault on a Kavim company bus. 

About a year ago, HaKol HaYehudi published an investigation into bus driver Adnan Awiwi, who worked for Kavim on a line in Beitar Illit.  The investigation showed that Awiwi, who seriously injured two Jews riding a motorcycle during the Guardian of the Walls Operation, is the brother of a terrorist who also committed a car-ramming attack that was initially classified as an accident. Additionally, Awiwi had publicly supported terrorists. Despite this, Kavim continued his employment

Likewise, the previous head of the Worker’s Committee and two other drivers were arrested and investigated on suspicion of terror offenses.

In another incident, we found that a Kavim bus driver was convicted of participating in a riot in Ramle where he threw stones at a policeman and sprayed pepper gas at another officer.

Assaults by bus drivers are also not new. In an incident a year ago in Modiin Illit, an Arab bus driver working for Kavim attacked a Jewish passenger and other driver swerved into head-on traffic damaging many cars.

Likewise, we published the case of Bilal Hamad, an Egged bus driver from the north who expressed support for suicide bombers, and Hossam Abu Shahidim, a resident of Shoafat and the brother of Hamas terrorist Fadi Abu Shahidim, who murdered Eliyahu Kay in a shooting attack in Jerusalem. Hossam Abu Shahidim had served as an Egged bud in the Binyamin and Jordan Valley regions.

Following HaKol HaYehudi’s reports, the bus drivers above were fired and Egged announced that it would consider background checks of bus drivers. It should be noted that Hossam Abu Shahidim, who was fired from Egged following the report, found a new job at the Tnufa bus company, which also fired him after we inquired with them. 

Mohammad Karaki, another driver who worked at the Superbus company, was accused of harassing Jews in Bet Shemesh. The driver ordered several Jewish youths to repeat sentences like "I love Arabs and hate Jews" and pretended to record them. Karaki was fired after a complaint was filed by the Honenu legal-aid organization.

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