Jerusalem chief rabbi visits mourning tent of killed autistic Palestinian man


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Jerusalem chief rabbi visited the family of Iyad Halak, the autistic Palestinian man who was shot to death by Israeli Border Police, at their mourning tent in eastern Jerusalem.

Aryeh Stern, the city’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, also met local Muslim leaders at the tent on Tuesday evening.

Halak, of eastern Jerusalem,  was shot in the Old City of Jerusalem by officers who said they thought the cellphone in his hand was a gun. Israel has apologized for the killing.

Stern, who was joined by Jerusalem Municipality officials, said he was coming with “a message of peace and reconciliation,” according to The Jerusalem Post. Halak’s father thanked him for the condolence visit.

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana said he would investigate Halak’s death. He also said that police officers “are required to make fateful decisions in seconds in an area that has been inundated with terror attacks, and in which there is a constant danger to their lives,” The Times of Israel reported.

Ohana reportedly canceled a visit to the family for Tuesday evening after Halak’s father posted a video on social media in which he said he did not want visits from any government officials.

On Wednesday in the Knesset, Ohana called for police officers to be trained to recognize a person with a disability and said he would advance such a requirement.

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