Two yeshiva students, both in their 20s, were attacked by a group of Arab youths while walking home in A-Tur following Shabbat services Friday night.
One of the students was stabbed and the other was struck in the head with a metal bar, resulting in light wounds, according to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“The students were walking in east Jerusalem at approximately 7 p.m. when the attack took place,” Rosenfeld said. “The suspects fled the area and both victims were evacuated to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.”
Rosenfeld said police are searching the area for the assailants, although no arrests have been made.
Police are maintaining heightened security measures throughout the capital, with special emphasis on all public areas, he added, noting that no age restrictions had been imposed for Friday prayers on the Temple Mount, during which more than 30,000 Muslims converged without incident.
Amid the historic tensions in the capital, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi on Friday said the government may be prepared to hand over sovereignty of Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.
“In a permanent accord, a creative solution can be found for the Arab neighborhoods,” Hanegbi told Channel 2 News, noting that “the Western Wall and the Temple Mount” and “not Isawiya” remain the priorities of the government.
Meanwhile, in response to Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni’s call to cease employment of Arab workers renovating bomb shelters and area daycare centers in the coastal community, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat warned of generalizations against Arabs on Army Radio Friday.
“I cannot help but think of where we were 70 years ago in Europe,” said Barkat, referring to the Holocaust. “We cannot generalize as they did to Jews. Here in Jerusalem, we have tens of thousands of Arab workers. We must make a clear distinction.”
Moreover, citing Har Nof’s decision not to terminate Arab employees in the neighborhood despite the brutal murders carried out by two Palestinians in a synagogue there last week, Barkat called for Jews to continue to employ Arab workers.
“Even in the synagogue in Har Nof, they decided to continue to employ all of their Arab workers,” the mayor said. “The management of the Har Nof synagogue was done with dignity and wisdom, not from excitement, which showed how we need to act.”
A sister of one of the terrorists from the synagogue attack, it was revealed on Friday, works in the Jerusalem municipality.
Barkat said the sister is a “valued” and “outstanding” employee who has worked for the city for more than 10 years. “As long as she exceeds and is focused in her work and brings real value to the residents of the city of Jerusalem, there is no reason to prevent her from doing her job,” he said.
Barkat reiterated that Israel needs focus against the “bad people” and “locate them, and be very tough,” which, he said, may include the possibility of stripping the citizenship of family members of terrorists.
During the interview, Barkat echoed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements the previous day, in which Netanyahu said Arab Israelis must not be discriminated against because of the violent actions of a small minority.
“We should not discriminate against an entire public because of a small minority that is violent and militant,” Netanyahu said. “The vast majority of Israeli-Arab citizens are law-abiding and we are acting resolutely against those who break the law.”
The prime minister added that the “Jewish State” bill he will bring to the cabinet on Sunday will enshrine full equality under the law to all Israeli citizens without regard to race, religion or gender, as well as ensuring the identity of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people.
“There is no contradiction between the two things,” he said, “and we will not allow the undermining of these two principles.”
In the meantime, Rabbi Yehudah Glick – the rightwing Jewish activist who was shot four times in a Jerusalem assassination attempt late last month – will not be released from Shaare Zedek Medical Center Sunday, as had been announced.
Glick, 49, whose condition has improved considerably since the attack, will continue to receive treatment there following multiple surgeries, the hospital said Saturday.
A new release date was not announced.