Jerusalem Seems Peaceful.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
In recent weeks, the heart of Israel’s capital has become an increasingly
dangerous place for Jews. Residents and visitors alike have been subjected to a
series of ominous attacks by local Arabs, which include vandalism, stone-throwing
and the torching of vehicles and other property.
Even more worrisome is
the fact that many of the offenses have been committed in broad daylight,
signaling that the perpetrators are not all that concerned about the possible
reaction of local law enforcement.
The escalating audacity of these
assaults poses a direct threat to Israel’s sovereignty and the rule of law, and
urgent steps must be taken to crack down on Arab violence in Jerusalem before it
spins entirely out of control.
One of the most serious incidents took
place last month, on February 13, when two civilian employees of the Defense
Ministry were nearly lynched by a mob of Arab youths near Mount Scopus in
Jerusalem. The Israelis reportedly got stuck in a traffic jam, when their car
was suddenly surrounded by Arabs and pummeled with stones. The driver was hit in
the head by a large rock that slammed through the windshield, and was badly
The two barely escaped with their lives. This episode did not
happen in Gaza or Tulkarm, but in Jerusalem. The attackers were never caught,
and it appears little was done to apprehend them.
So it was perhaps only
a matter of time before another such incident took place. And this past Monday,
that is precisely what happened. An Israeli driving through Jerusalem’s Wadi Joz
neighborhood was abruptly attacked by dozens of Arabs who showered his car with
stones and concrete blocks. He, too, was wounded when his windshield was
shattered, and medics had to evacuate him to Hadassah Ein Kerem
Afterwards, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld offered some
astonishing advice to Israeli drivers. Speaking with Arutz Sheva, he said that
motorists should check with security personnel before entering “sensitive
neighborhoods” to determine whether they are safe. In other words, we can no
longer assume that all of Jerusalem, our capital city, is necessarily secure
enough for Jews to navigate.
This is an astounding admission of failure
on the part of the police. It means they have all but lost control over the
streets of various Jerusalem neighborhoods and can no longer guarantee the
safety of citizens who wish to utilize them. A further sign of the police’s
ineffectuality came in the form of an ad published last week by activist Arieh
King of the Israel Land Fund calling for volunteers to help him carry out the
court-ordered removal of illegal Palestinian squatters from a home in
A Jerusalem magistrate’s court recently found that the
Palestinians had been dwelling illegally in the structure for the past decade
even though it was owned by a British Jew.
The judge ordered them
evacuated by March 1 and instructed the Palestinians to pay NIS 125,000 in
Incredibly, the police chose to defy the court’s ruling and
called off the evacuation, reportedly because of concerns that it was scheduled
to take place the day before a planned meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama in Washington.
received a new date of March 30 for the Palestinians’ removal, he submitted
repeated requests to the police to ensure they would oversee it. After the
police did not bother to respond, King took the unusual step of placing the ad,
suggesting that if the police won’t do their job, then he may have no choice but
to do it for them. It is hard to blame King for his frustration. After all, the
job of the police is to enforce the law, not obstruct it.
Worse yet, they
have failed to stem the violence targeting Jews, which has become so commonplace
that it hardly even generates headlines anymore. On Sunday, for example, Arabs
hurled a firebomb at an Israeli home in Jerusalem’s Ma’aleh Zeitim neighborhood.
The incident was barely mentioned by most media outlets.
has become intolerable. A street war is being waged in Jerusalem, one in which
local Arabs are attempting to frighten Jews out of various
Israel cannot and must not allow this lawlessness and
impunity to prevail. Steps must be taken to ensure that all of Jerusalem is safe
To begin with, the police must significantly increase their
presence throughout the eastern part of the city, boosting patrols and
responding quickly to any outbreaks of violence. Stone-throwing youths should be
prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Rocks are a dangerous weapon. They
can maim, wound and kill, and those who hurl them at others should be treated
Two months ago, Public Security Minister Yitzhak
Aharonovitch announced that a new police station would be opened on the Mount of
Olives to crack down on Arab vandalism against the Jewish cemetery there as well
as to provide increased protection to Jewish visitors. The station was supposed
to have opened last month, but it has yet to do so. Inaugurating it now would
send a strong message that the police are serious about imposing
Arab violence against Jews in east Jerusalem is in danger of
spinning out of control. It must be stopped now, before it turns lethal.