MK Michael Ben-Ari 370.
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
National Union MKs Michael Ben-Ari and Arieh Eldad toured the a-Tur neighborhood in east Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon in an effort to “test” the security of the area around the Mount of Olives cemetery, which has been the scene of frequent rockthrowing attacks against Jewish cars.
“We’re here to say that in every neighborhood Jews must be able to roam freely,” Ben-Ari said during the tour. “We’re embarrassed that we have to do this in such a media blitz, but we know that right after us someone is going to come and get rocks thrown at them,” he said.
“Jews are afraid to come here.”
Eldad called the stonethrowing episodes around the Mount of Olives “complete and utter neglect of police in east Jerusalem.”
“Every day people go to the Mount of Olives and are getting stoned and the police know this and aren’t halting this phenomenon,” he said.
Police did not give the MKs approval to demonstrate in the neighborhood, but they also did not stop the fiery MKs from taking a foot tour through the area.
Along the way, Ben-Ari and Eldad stopped in convenience stores to ask residents about the stone throwing. Ben-Ari openly mocked locals who claimed that local children weren’t involved in the stone throwing.
“They’re making problems, if there’s not quiet there are going to be more problems,” said one a-Tur resident named Edie.
“They’re making a big mess, what do they have to do here?” “This place is special to east Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives is holy to everyone,” he said. He dismissed claims that the security situation prevented Jews from coming to pay their respects at graves or attending funerals. “People from all over the world come here,” he said, pointing out the numerous tour buses passing.
There were no violent incidents during the MKs’ tour, due in part to the presence of at least 50 police officers along the main road of a-Tur.
Ben-Ari slammed the new Mount of Olives police station, where approximately 25 officers are stationed full-time, as being ineffective against the stone throwing. Eldad added that the rock throwing had thus far resulted in light injuries, but it could lead to tragedy.
“So far its ended in miracles, but it’s going to end in a lynch,” he warned.