‘CUT OFF the funder of terrorism, the Palestinian Authority,’ the printed signs read in part at yesterday’s protest..
(photo credit: HANNAH SARISOHN)
Chants of “The nation of Israel is not afraid of a tough journey” filled the capital’s Smolenskin Street on Wednesday night as more than 50 people gathered in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence to protest the government’s response to recent terrorist attacks.
Terrorists have struck six times in the West Bank and Jerusalem in the past week and a half – killing three Israelis.
The most recent attack took place on Monday night near Shvut Rahel, when a man in a passing car shot at four men driving home from a basketball game.Malachi Rosenfeld, 26, from Kochav Hashahar, died
of his wounds at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
Following his funeral on Wednesday, Rosenfeld’s greater community in the Binyamin region refused to remain silent in the aftermath of his murder.
Miri Maoz-Ovadia, the international desk liaison for the Binyamin Regional Council, organized Wednesday’s protest to show the government it needs to take more initiative in preventing attacks.
The government should be preventing terrorism not while the attack is happening, but beforehand in Arab communities, she said.
“Terrorists are going to continue trying to hurt Jews as long as the atmosphere in Israel remains the same,” Maoz-Ovadia said.
“In their society, terrorists who kill Jews get honored with streets named after them. The Israeli government needs to impose greater punishment for terrorists to show them killing Jews isn’t worth it.”
If terrorists are going to try to stop Israelis from living their lives, then the government needs to establish new communities and authorize construction of new homes, as stopping development is harming people, Maoz-Ovadia said. This, she said, is one of the main messages she wants to send to the prime minister.
Rochelle Cohen, joined by her two young daughters, had their main messages for the prime minister, “We Will Not Be Sitting Ducks,” taped onto the sides of their hats.
“We’re trying to send a clear message that we cannot be sitting ducks again,” Cohen said. “These attacks have only been talked about on the news when there are bad injuries, but there’s a lot of near misses. Unfortunately, it takes the deaths of young men for us to talk.”
Avi Roeh, head of the Binyamin Regional Council, addressed the crowd and called for the prime minister and the government to change their policies.
Rosenfeld, he said, was killed on a road in their region, and could easily have been anyone in the crowd’s son or daughter.
“We will not return to the days of the second intifada, days of people dying on the streets,” Roeh said. “The reality of people being murdered is something we cannot accept. We voted this government in, which is why we can demand for it to take care of this.”