Aharonovitch: Probe police failure at Malha riot

Public security minister says police reaction to attacks on Arab cleaners was unmotivated and unacceptable.

March 29, 2012 10:31
2 minute read.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.

Aharonovitch_311 reuters. (photo credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters)

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that the police need to show greater determination in pursuing attacks on Arabs, Israel Radio reported Thursday.

Aharonovitch's statement came in the aftermath of an

An Arab cleaner at the food court said on Wednesday that it took over an hour for police to arrive after they were called during the riot. Jerusalem Police spokeswoman Shlomit Bajshi said no arrests were made because by the time police arrived, the rioters had dispersed.

“Every game it’s like this,” said A., who has worked as a cleaner at Malha for 10 years. “Every time, they chant ‘Death to Arabs,’ but this time was different.”

A. said he expected there to be similar problems after future games, but he refused to be afraid because this was his job. He warned that the next time it would end in broken bones or serious injury.

After the protest, demonstrators handed out white lilies to the Arab cleaners in the food court as a token of their support. A 16-year-old Betar fan wearing the team’s scarf around his neck tried to claim that the Arab workers attacked him, but he was widely ignored.

“I want to personally apologize,” Osnat Kollek, daughter of Teddy Kollek, told the crowd outside the mall. “My father built this land, he was a student of Theodore Herzl and he wanted Jerusalem to be a light to the nations and a capital of culture. If he saw what went on last week, he would also personally apologize. This is not the city he envisioned.”

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