Police heighten patrols in Jerusalem following wave of violent crime

Despite shooting incidents at Western Wall and law office, police are urging the public to keep calm.

Police walk near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate 390 (R) (photo credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
Police walk near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate 390 (R)
(photo credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
Following a spate of violent crimes in the capital over the last several days and weeks – including a double homicide on Tuesday, a murder at the Western Wall in June, and two stabbings barely one week apart – Police are increasing patrols throughout the city.
As part of the heightened security measures, incoming passengers at the central bus station in the capital Thursday were subjected to an x-ray screening for the first time in several months, forcing them to wait in long lines, according to Army Radio.
While acknowledging that the disproportionate confluence of violent crimes is troubling, Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld emphasized Thursday that the stabbings and murders were unrelated and should not panic the public.
Still, he conceded that police are taking preemptive measures to curtail future attacks, particularly in light of the sensitivity of Ramadan.
“Taking into consideration the numerous violent incidents that have taken place over the past few weeks, Police have stepped up patrols in different neighborhoods,” said Rosenfeld. “In general, we have extra patrols and are regularly making security assessments.”
Rosenfeld continued, “At the moment, it’s an important and sensitive time of year with Ramadan, and police are taking measures to ensure safety.”
On Tuesday, Natan Jorno and his daughter Yamit, aged 51 and 26, were shot repeatedly at close range in their downtown law firm by Getagon Tadesse, 49 – a disgruntled security guard and client represented by the firm in his divorce proceedings – over an alleged financial dispute.
Tadesse has since admitted to the murders and said he will plead insanity in his defense, according to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.
The judge overseeing his case has ordered he undergo a psychological evaluation and remain in jail for the next eight days.
The same afternoon the Jorno’s were buried, a middleaged Jewish man was brutally stabbed in the public bathroom of Bloomfield Park Wednesday, allegedly by an Arab assailant, in an unprovoked assault that police are investigating as terrorist-related.
According to Rosenfeld, the 50-year-old Jerusalem resident was attacked from behind and sustained serious wounds in his upper torso during the attack. He was subsequently rushed by ambulance to Hadassah University Medical Center, Ein Kerem, where he was listed in serious condition.
On June 21, Hadi Kabalan, a Druse security guard at the Western Wall, was charged with the premeditated murder of Doron Ben-Shlush, a Jewish worshiper, who was shot 14 times.
Additionally, on July 17, two Arab men allegedly stabbed a haredi man in his 30s multiple times outside Damascus Gate in east Jerusalem, while he was walking home after Tisha Be’av.
The victim was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, where he was listed in moderate condition.
While police have launched dual investigations into both stabbings, none of the assailants in either case has been apprehended yet.
Rosenfeld acknowledged the two stabbings may have been the result of Arab and Jewish tensions, but emphasized that Tuesday’s shooting had nothing to do with Ramadan or potential terrorist activity.
“This is happening on two levels,” he said. “There were incidents that may have involved Ramadan and an incident that was criminal and had nothing to do with it.”
Meanwhile, several residents of the capital said they were unconcerned by the violence.
“Look, this is Israel,” said one citizen, who requested anonymity. “We’ve seen much worse, and we will get through this.”
“It’s terrible what has happened, but I feel safe,” said Tsufit, who asked that her last name not be published. “We are not going to go into hiding.”