TEL AVIV: An Israeli immigration clerk recently committed suicide reportedly after he was shamed on Facebook for his alleged racist behaviour, media said.
Ariel Runis, a manager at the Population, Immigration and Border Authority, killed himself shortly after writing a Facebook post in which he addressed allegations that he had behaved in a racist manner towards a black female client, Haaretz reported.
The woman, a mother of three, had described in an earlier Facebook post an encounter with the manager, Ariel Runis, and another official after she went to the authority’s Tel Aviv office to obtain a passport.
Her widely shared post quickly garnered thousands of likes.
“Within two days [her] post was shared more than 6,000 times — each one like a sharpened arrow piercing my skin,” Runis wrote on Facebook.
“Me? A racist? All my work has been erased with one stroke… I am not angry at that woman, who, from the look of her photos, has already overcome that difficult blow she felt. As for me, I cannot overcome it. Farewell!”
Shortly after writing the post, Runis contacted a close friend and told him he intended to kill himself. He left his door open and apparently shot himself with his gun.
His friend found the body and called the police and emergency medical services, who pronounced Runis dead at the scene.
Last week, the woman published a post detailing what had happened to her when she visited the authority with her three young children, in order to obtain a passport for her son.
According to her post, she was told about an express line for mothers with small children. Although, two other mothers were seen quickly by staff, she was told by a female clerk to go back to the regular queue.
According to the woman’s description, she subsequently returned to the end of the queue — only to see that other women with children were receiving preferential treatment.
“It turned out that the manager was present, and assisting other people in need of further assistance — a deaf woman and others,” she wrote.
“I told him exactly what had happened, and I felt, I was discriminated against due to the colour of my skin. I told him that my baby needed a change of diaper, that the little one was asking to go to the bathroom, and that all I was asking was to be afforded equal treatment to that being given to the other mothers who came to the office – nothing more. However, I expected nothing less, either.
“He told me that if I was complaining about discrimination, I should get the heck out of his face. All this happened in front of dozens of people. I tried. I really tried, but I shed a tear, and then another one, and maybe a few concealed ones. My son, who is five, comforted me and asked that we leave,” she wrote.
The Facebook update concluded with a call for others to share the post. Within a short time, more than 6,000 people had done just that. The brunt of their criticism was directed at Runis.
In the post written prior to taking his life, Runis said he had received dozens of requests for a comment from journalists, who were trying to paint him as a racist, and that he was finding it difficult to handle the accusations being directed against him.
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