The burial saga

The city is seeing a change in the residential trends of its Arab population.

Israeli Police (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Israeli Police
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
■ Jerusalem Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Hussein has issued a religious ruling requesting that the corpses of the two Palestinians from Jebl Mukaber who murdered four rabbis in last month’s Har Nof synagogue attack be handed over to their families for burial.
Since the terrorist attack, the corpses have remained in the custody of the police. Hussein referred to the cousins from the Abu-Jamal family as “shahid” (martyrs) and emphasized that the families had the right to observe the Shari’a laws of mourning and burial rites.
Hussein gave his declaration at the family’s mourning tent, and it was printed in one of the Palestinian newspapers that goes out in the Arab neighborhoods. Another newspaper, linked with the Palestinian Authority, wrote that the two “shahids” had attacked “Jewish extremists of the Occupation Forces,” while other newspapers and the PA TV network simply called the four victims “settlers.”
■ Undercover policemen arrested seven-year-old Obaida Mheisen Ayesh, a resident of the Silwan neighborhood, on Thursday last week for taking part in stone-throwing on a street near his house. They later released him after completing his interrogation.
The boy’s mother, who was informed by one of her neighbors, came immediately and accompanied her son to police headquarters at the Russian Compound.
The law does not usually allow the arrest and trial of minors under the age of 13, but under a new policy that went into effect following the riots this past summer, police are taking young children who participate in offenses into custody to get their parents to stop them.
Parents are now subject to fines when their children throw stones or participate in any law-breaking activity.
■ Gihon, the municipal water company, has started to take steps against Arab residents who do not pay their water bills. The first stage of this new operation is to remove the water meters, and then to cut off the water supply. According to Palestinian sources, this is the first time that such a policy has been implemented.
Meanwhile, the head of the National Security Council told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Sunday that although the PA owed the Israel Electric Company over NIS 1.5 million, the debt would not be enforced for the moment, for fear that such a move might lead to the economic collapse of the PA.
■ The city is seeing a change in the residential trends of its Arab population.
Until not so long ago, the number of Arab residents moving to Jewish neighborhoods was continually growing, according to members of the neighborhood councils, for simple reasons of convenience – lower rents, better services and higher standards of living. But since last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, followed by the riots and terrorist attacks around the capital, many Arab residents have decided to change direction.
The French Hill neighborhood until recently was the Jewish neighborhood that had the highest Arab population in the capital (not least because it is near the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus). According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 16% of French Hill residents were Arab. And municipality figures showed that Arabs constituted between 1% and 2% of the population in the Pisgat Ze’ev and Neveh Ya’acov neighborhoods. However, while official updated figures are not yet available, figures from real-estate offices show that those numbers are going down.
■ Following the arson at the capital’s integrated Max Rayne Hand-in- Hand School last month, the school’s staff and students are partnering with Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the New Israel Fund’s Shatil program and the Jerusalem Foundation for a project called “A Different Dialogue.”
On Sunday at 4:30 p.m., teachers and education personalities from formal and informal educational institutions will meet and debate the need for, as the name suggests, a different dialogue. The Hand-in-Hand school principals will moderate the gathering and try to give the participants effective tools to face hatred and racism.