'J'lem lynching must be dealt with as school starts'

Education minister Sa'ar tells conference that high number of teens that participated in brutal attack of Arab youth is worrying.

15-year-old suspect in J'lem beating attack 370 (photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
15-year-old suspect in J'lem beating attack 370
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar on Tuesday instructed his office to discuss the recent lynching of an Arab youth in Jerusalem with students, as they return to school next week.
The attack took place just after midnight on Thursday night in Zion Square. Eyewitnesses said approximately two dozen Jewish teenagers surrounded an Arab youth and began beating him, continuing to kick him even after he fell unconscious to the ground.
At a conference held in Jerusalem ahead of the new school year, Sa'ar said: "This is a very serious event, both in terms of violence and racism. The high number of teenagers that participated in the incident adds to that concern."
"The education system must and will put out an educational and ethical statement on the subject. which will be sharp and clear," Sa'ar asserted.
Four Jewish teenagers were arrested on Sunday for the Thursday night beating in downtown Jerusalem that left a 17-year-old Arab in critical condition.
Police are still expecting additional arrests in the incident that shocked the capital, as eyewitnesses claimed that dozens of Jewish youth beat Jamal Julani almost to death.
Paramedics who arrived on the scene found Julani unresponsive and with no pulse.
They used CPR and defibrillators for more than 10 minutes before his pulse returned and evacuated him in critical but stable condition to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
Five Jewish teenagers, four males and one female, have been arrested thus far. The youngest is 13 years old. One 19-year-old Jerusalem resident arrested on Saturday afternoon was remanded on Sunday at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. Police created a special investigative team to deal with the incident and expect additional arrests in the coming days.
Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday described two violent attacks against Arabs over the weekend in the West Bank and Jerusalem as “hate crimes” and “terrorist acts.”
He was also referring to the firebombing of a Palestinian taxi near Gush Etzion on Thursday, which wounded six people, including two children.
Ya’alon called the attacks “totally unacceptable and outrageous” and ascribed their incidence to a moral and educational failure that goes against Jewish ethics and values.
Ya’alon wrote on his Twitter account that Israel cannot afford such phenomena and that it is the duty of elected officials to use all the tools at their disposal to fight an allout war to ensure these “heinous acts” are not repeated.
Julani’s situation improved on Sunday and he is no longer unconscious nor connected to a respirator, according to a spokeswoman for the Hadassah University Medical Center. He is awake and responsive and was moved out of the intensive care unit to a regular floor, the spokeswoman added.
Julani’s parents, from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras el-Amud, told Israel Radio that their son was a “victim of terror” and called on the police to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice with the same intensity that they would if the victim were Jewish.
A crowd of 200 people demonstrated on Saturday night in Zion Square to show their disgust with the incident with the Bright Tag antiracism forum.
“It is of course not a onetime issue, it is a continuation of the atmosphere of racial harassment, it is a continuation of Gush Etzion on Thursday,” said Dr. Gadi Gvaryahu, the director of Bright Tag.
“There were 10 mosques burned in two years. They’ve desecrated two monasteries.
Of course it is all connected one to another,” he said.
Gvaryahu said the fact that police had not caught anyone responsible for the mosque burnings in the past two years sent a de facto message that those actions are acceptable, which just leads to more price-tag attacks against Arabs.
“We need to catch whoever burned the mosques. If it was a synagogue in Europe we’d be shaking with anger, and rightly so. But we need to deal with Jewish terror the way we’re dealing with Arab terror,” he said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Sunday came out strongly against violence in the nation’s capital, releasing a statement saying, “I unequivocally condemn any expression of violence, both verbal or physical, by any party.” The mayor added that he is confident police will bring the attackers to justice, while calling for continued co-existence in the city.