Municipal inspectors narrowly escape east Jerusalem stoning as Arab protests worsen

Hebrew University Arab students demonstrate against IDF attacks in Gaza.

jerusalem riot 224 88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
jerusalem riot 224 88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Hundreds of Arab teens pelted Israeli cars, police and passersby with stones and rocks in east Jerusalem on Monday, as rioting over the violence in Gaza continued in the Arab sections of Jerusalem for the second straight day. In the most serious incident, two Jerusalem Municipality city inspectors felt in danger of being lynched on a central east Jerusalem thoroughfare that was blocked by burning garbage bins after their car was pelted with dozens of stones and rocks by half a dozen teens, one of whom jumped on the vehicle and beat the window with a metal bar. The two city workers, who were inside their vehicle when they came under attack, eventually managed to bypass a burning garbage bin that was overturned on the road by driving on the sidewalk and escape to safety. "I was afraid we were going to be lynched," said city inspector Chaya Elihan. The two city workers were in telephone contact the whole time of the attack with their boss, Elihan said. "Our instructions were just to get out of the there as quickly as possible without paying any attention to the damage done to the car," city inspector Moshe Ephraim said. Minutes later an elite unit of undercover Jerusalem police, aided by a top Border Police anti-terror unit, moved in and arrested the leaders of the attack, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. The violent midday attack on Rehov Salah-a-Din took place just hundreds of meters away from the Israeli Justice Ministry and the city's district court. The graphic images - which were caught by TV cameras - topped the most popular TV newscast in Israel on Monday night and brought to mind scenes from the first Palestinian intifada in the 1980s. Separately, an Israeli worshiper at an east Jerusalem tomb thought to be that of a Jewish priest was lightly injured after being hit by a stone, police said. The assailants in the attack at the reputed gravesite of Simon the Righteous in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz fled the scene. Meanwhile, a group of 150 Arab students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem held a boisterous protest Monday against the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip. The Arab students who took part in the afternoon protest just outside the main entrance to the university's Mount Scopus campus were met by dozens of Jewish students in a counterprotest opposite the street, with police separating between the two sides. Carrying Palestinian flags and dressed in keffiyehs, the Arab students chanted the Palestinian liberation slogan: "With our blood and soul we shall liberate Palestine." "We are part of the Palestinian people and it is impossible to separate us from them," said protester Ali Behar, 23, a third-year student who heads the Arab Students Committee. "We are protesting against the Zionist terror against the Palestinian people," Behar said, "or as [Deputy Defense Minister Matan] Vilna'i called it, 'the Holocaust.'" Vilna'i has said that he used the Hebrew word Shoah in a radio interview which took place Friday only to mean disaster, ruin or destruction and was not referring to its primary definition as Holocaust. Israeli student protesters, who supported the army's actions in Gaza, expressed their dismay that the university and police allowed such radical Islamic activity on campus. "We are talking about a group of students who live in the dorms, who study at the expense of the state and in exchange call for the murder of Israelis and support terror," said Erez Tadmor, 28, head of the right-wing student group If You Will It, referring to the words of Theodor Herzl. "Regretfully and shamefully, the incitement of the Islamic groups on campus are ignored by both the police and the university administration," he said. Tadmor suggested that Jewish donors should condition their contributions to Hebrew University on the cessation of such anti-Israel activity on campus. "We allow all political activity on campus so long as the rules of the game are kept, and demonstrations do not revert to violence," said Shlomit Atzaba, spokeswoman for the university's student union.