In today’s “Israel Hayom,” Nadav Shragai describes the situation in Mt. Scopus, in northeastern Jerusalem:
A few minutes’ drive from the National Police Headquarters in Jerusalem, where along the way sits the Hebrew University campus (founded 88 years ago), soldiers, students, policemen, civilians and local residents try braving the drive to arrive safe and sound to school, reserve duty or their homes. Along the way, they may encounter anything and everything from Molotov cocktails, stone throwing, hit-and-run attempts, burning tires and cinder blocks on the road. In this ongoing local intifada, which has known its ups and downs, everything is fair game as far as the youth of Issawiyeh are concerned. …
Female students leaving the campus on foot frequently suffer sexually related assaults. They have tried everything — whistles, pepper spray, self-defense courses, they have written letters to police commanders, held meetings in the Knesset. Nothing has helped them. Take that path, go around that way, protect yourselves like this — these are the answers they hear.
This is not the only place in the Jewish state where Jews are afraid of becoming victims of anti-Jewish violence. About a mile to the south the ancient cemetery on the Mount of Olives, where Jews have been buried for 3,000 years, is also dangerous territory for Jews, not to mention a target of continuous vandalism. Numerous famous rabbis, Henrietta Szold (the founder of Hadassah), Eliezer Ben Yehuda, Menachem Begin and many others are buried there, and a Jew taks his life in his hands to visit their graves!
There are neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Arab towns where a Jewish driver stands the risk of being dragged from his car and lynched. And of course the roads of Judea and Samaria have become arcades for Arab terrorists-in-training to practice throwing rocks and firebombs.
Most of the time — although every few weeks there is an exception — this doesn’t rise to the level of murder. Hence I call it ‘misdemeanor terrorism'; but it is no less terrorism.
The Arabs that perpetrate these offenses believe that the Jewish presence in the land of Israel is illegitimate, and that therefore anything they do is perfectly justified. They have an endless list of exaggerated and imagined atrocities to avenge. Much of the time the terrorists and vandals are juveniles, making it hard to arrest them and impossible to deter them with threats of punishment.
Local Arabs either support and encourage the behavior, or in effect become human shields, because security measures are called ‘collective punishment’. And photographers — often local Arabs employed by international media — lap up the excitement. How would you like to be lynched while these vultures (who may have encouraged your attackers) get their closeups?
Misdemeanor terrorism is just another way in which the Arabs act to chip away at Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel. What good does it do if the IDF has nuclear weapons at its disposal as long as Jews can’t walk the streets of their capital in safety (or, in another example of the erosion of sovereignty, are not permitted to pray — not even to move their lips — on the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, in the center of Israel’s capital)?
Meanwhile, since the time of Arafat, the PLO has been promulgating its made-up version of history in which there is no connection between Jews and Jerusalem! Even the Obama Administration seems to have acquiesced in this outrageous lie.
Obviously there are a lot of practical and technical things that can and must be done. But above all, it is necessary for all the institutions of the state — the government, educational system, police, etc. to be on the same page: that Israel is sovereign in all of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. It is essential that all degradations of Jewish sovereignty, whether by criminal activity or simply improper situations that are allowed to fester because authorities are afraid of Arab reaction, be opposed.
The Arabs never stop probing for weaknesses, and attacking when they find them. The more they are allowed to get away with, the more they will do. In one of the greatest moments of modern Jewish history, the IDF captured the Old City in 1967, at great cost — and almost immediately, Moshe Dayan began the process of abdicating sovereignty by placing control of the Temple Mount in the hands of the Muslim waqf. Only the Oslo agreement compares with this decision in its disastrous effects for the state of Israel!
Jerusalem is the spiritual center of the Jewish world. Israel needs to ensure that it remains under Jewish control, even if the actions need to ensure this are unpopular with the Arabs, the UN, and the Obama Administration.