Rabbi stabbed at Damascus Gate

49-year-old man in moderate condition in what police describe as a terror attack; suspect on loose.

rabbi stabbed 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
rabbi stabbed 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
A 49-year-old rabbi was stabbed and moderately wounded by an Arab assailant Tuesday near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, police and rescue officials said. Rabbi Yehezkel Greenwald of the West Bank settlement of Beit El was stabbed in the neck from behind, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. The attacker then fled the scene. Greenwald had been on his way to the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, where he teaches, police and rescue officials said. Despite his wounds, Greenwald managed remove the knife from his neck and walk a few meters before finding police, who summoned Magen David Adom paramedics to the scene, the police said. He was given first aid and then rushed to Hadassah-University Hospital at Ein Kerem. The Damascus Gate is primarily used by Arab residents of the city, and has been the scene of previous stabbings in the past. The entryway is frequently used by teachers at the yeshiva. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the yeshiva - which is located in the Old City's Muslim Quarter and is also known as Ateret Yerushalayim - rebuffed claims Tuesday that the location of his institution was a provocation to local Arabs. "I've been asked by several reporters whether I think it is right for us to be located in the Muslim Quarter, as if we are to blame for the attack," said Aviner, a leading religious Zionist spiritual leader and rabbi of Beit El. "The Russians, the Poles and the Germans also blamed the Jews for causing anti-Semitism," said Aviner. "And it is true that if there had been no Jews in Russia there would never have been pogroms, and if there had been no Jews in Germany when the Nazis came to power, the Holocaust never would have happened. Perhaps we should just set up a colony on the moon and move all the Jews there. Then we wouldn't be a Jewish problem." Commenting on calls by right-wing activists to avenge the deaths of the eight Mercaz Harav Yeshiva students killed in a terror attack over a week ago, Aviner said that only official state bodies were authorized to take military action. "Warfare is a commandment on the entire Jewish people," said Aviner. "It is not something individuals can take upon themselves to carry out. The state represents the Jewish people, and it must decide what actions should be taken." Aviner's comments were indirect criticism against right-wing demonstrators who grappled with police on Sunday during attempts to destroy the house of Ala Abu Dhaim, the Arab terrorist who carried out the Mercaz Harav attack. Since its establishment 27 years ago, the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva has lost three of its students to terror attacks. Currently, about 200 post-high school students study at the yeshiva. Some of the students do three years of army service; others join the five-year "hesder" program offered at other yeshivot, which combines Torah study with 18 months of army service; and some postpone army service indefinitely. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski denounced Tuesday's attack and called it "an attempt by radical elements to harm the fabric of coexistence in the city," according to a statement issued by his office.