Yeshiva students recount Jerusalem knife attack

Men hurt in a confrontation Monday with Arab youths near Jaffa Gate in capital's Old City describe account.

Scene of Jaffa Gate stabbing in Jerusalem, Nov. 24 (photo credit: HATZALAH UNITED)
Scene of Jaffa Gate stabbing in Jerusalem, Nov. 24
(photo credit: HATZALAH UNITED)
The two yeshiva students stabbed in a confrontation with Arab youths near Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday night described the attack Tuesday, recalling that one assailant shouted anti-Semitic slurs during the clash.
The students, men aged 45 and 32, were hospitalized with moderate-to-serious and light wounds, respectively, following what they described as an unprovoked assault at the heavily traveled Jerusalem location.
According to police, the three assailants, aged 14-17, attempted to flee the scene after stabbing and beating their victims, but were arrested by border policemen stationed in the area.
Asked whether the assault has been deemed a terrorist attack, Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that “police are looking into all possible angles. At this moment in time, the investigation is continuing.”
The students said they were attacked at approximately 6 p.m. as they walked toward Jaffa Gate.
“Three Arabs jumped on us,” the unidentified 32-year-old told Walla! News, adding, “I didn’t see them coming.”
“One of them stabbed me with a slab of iron or a knife, and it is a big miracle it didn’t strike my heart,” said the older student, who said one of his assailants “shouted something against Jews.”
The Jewish victims said they tried to defend themselves.
“The big guy was the main one fighting with me,” the 45-year-old said. “I held my Talmud volume in one hand and fought with him until he fell to the ground. All that went through my mind is how to protect myself and, in the end, I saw him on the ground. He beat me until he ran away.”
Despite the life-threatening nature of the attack, the younger victim said he feels no fear and would return to the Old City through Damascus Gate in the Arab Quarter “without hesitation” on Tuesday night.
“They will not deter us,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino criticized Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein for enabling right-wing politicians to incite Arab unrest by visiting the Temple Mount, which has become the epicenter of what many are deeming the capital’s “religious war.”
“Anyone who wants to change the status quo on the Temple Mount should not be allowed up there,” he said in a statement, referring to visitors who demand that legally imposed Jewish prayer restrictions be lifted.
Danino’s rebuke came one day after Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick was released from Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem after a month spent recovering from a would-be assassin’s gunshot wounds. His terrorist assailant was killed in a shootout with police.
Citing an “extreme rightwing agenda to change the status quo on the Temple Mount,” Danino made his position clear: “We say leave the Temple Mount alone. There is an unequivocal statement by the Israeli government since 1967 that there is no intention to change the status quo,” he added.
Danino, whose force has been beleaguered by months of rioting and terrorist attacks, added that declarations by politicians, such as Moshe Feiglin, to change current policy does little more than incite the “Muslim world.”
“This is Israeli policy,” he continued. “Let’s not forget that the attempted murder of Yehudah Glick was by a Muslim” over his advocacy for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.
Moreover, as patently false claims by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and members of the Palestinian Authority mount in the Arab media that Jews plan to destroy the Aksa Mosque and build a third Temple over it, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly reiterated his position that the status quo must not change.
However, despite Netanyahu’s and Danino’s calls for maintaining the current restrictive visitation policy to avoid escalating the capital’s tensions, Feiglin, aided by a number of right-wing activists, continues to challenge their stance as anti-Semitic and unconstitutional.