Herskovitz Saga: Arabs Attack

Third Arab rock-throwing incident in two weeks prevents Yitzchak Herskovitz, 79, from paving a path from his property to the street.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 10:36

Israel news photo: Ben Bresky

For the second time in two weeks, illegal-alien Arabs in southern Jerusalem have prevented their Jewish neighbor from paving a path to his home by stoning the tractor driver. The Arabs also stoned city inspectors last week who arrived to deliver demolition orders for the Arabs’ illegal structures there.

The patch of land in question is located on the seam line between the Jewish neighborhood of Givat HaMatos and the Arab-populated Beit Tzafafa. Owner Yitzchak Herskovitz, 79, gained title to his land only a few months ago, after an 18-year legal battle with these same Arabs, who squatted on his land and claimed ownership. Three different courts ruled that their “proof of ownership” was forged.

Herskovitz’s property, located between two plots occupied by Arabs, currently has no access to a street. He is trying to rectify that by paving a path, which he wants to name Orchot Tzadikim, the Paths of the Righteous.

His neighbors, however, acting less than righteously, refuse to allow him to do so, employing rocks and other tools of violence for the purpose. Police were called to the scene, and have said that they are seeking and will arrest the perpetrators.

“They started to throw rocks at the driver,” said Alon Zaken, the driver’s employer, who was on the scene at the time, “and also tried to attack bodily – and even punctured one of the tires.”

The police, headed by Commander Zakin, arrived on the scene, “took testimony and are now searching for the ringleaders, who are hiding somewhere around here. The commander told me just a minute ago that his forces will not leave until the main culprit is arrested.”

The police commander confirmed this for Israel National News as well.

Two weeks ago, a tractor hired by Herskovitz for the same purpose was similarly stoned, while last week, city personnel arrived with police protection to deliver demolition orders for illegal shacks and structures built on the adjoining properties. The Arabs there threw rocks then as well; no arrests were made. Actual demolition of the structures is not expected to happen in the near future, given the international political climate and widespread interest in the goings-on in Jerusalem.

Asked how Herskovitz can reasonably hope to pave a path on his legally-owned property, the police commander first said that he must inform the police in advance and request protection. He then qualified his remarks and said that there is no guarantee that the police would be available for a mission of this nature at any given time, etc.  

While Zaken, who brought the tractor, was emphatic that the only way to do it is by hiring private guards, Herskovitz is confident that he can "get the police to do their job and protect my legal activity." A wine-maker in his spare time, Herskovitz has long claimed that he and the police have evidence that the Arabs are in Israel illegally in the first place.