Ten years ago Batya Kayman and her newlywed husband decided to move from New York to Jerusalem and to build their home in the Jewish state. The couple moved to the tree-lined, middle-class French Hill (Givah Hatzarfatit) neighborhood in northern Jerusalem, fulfilling their dream of aliyah.
Now, ten years on, the dream is becoming a nightmare, Batya Kayman told Arutz Sheva.
Jewish families in the neighborhood, which borders on Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital, are constantly harassed by Arab youth from nearby Arab neighborhoods, she said. The harassment has grown so bad that she fears to leave her home.
“The Arabs from the villages come here in organized groups. They go into parks and courtyards and steal everything, and they often use violence,” she related.
She described just one recent incident of many, “Yesterday two Arabs came into our backyard and ate fruit from our tree. I told them to go away. They told me this isn’t Jerusalem, it’s Palestine, and the house belongs to them.”
“There were four arson attacks here last Friday. The situation is getting worse here from day to day,” she continued. “We don’t want Jerusalem to become an Arab city.”
Other families are afraid as well, she said, “There’s a park here on Abba Berditchev Street. The Arabs flood it every afternoon, spitting, acting crazy. People are afraid to leave their homes and come here.”
Israelis living in the neighborhood have started to take steps to protect themselves, she noted. “We asked the city to station guards here. At the same time, we’re trying to organize a civilian patrol group.”
City officials sent a statement in response, “The city of Jerusalem takes acts of violence in the French Hill neighborhood very seriously, and has acted and will continue to act in cooperation with the police… to improve residents’ sense of security.”
“In recent months, the city invested many resources in the neighborhood,” the statement continued, “among them putting in security cameras, adding lights for safety, improving the security system in neighborhood schools… The City Council leadership, led by the Mayor, is also working with police to improve the sense of safety and the response to violent incidents in the neighborhood.”
Israeli Jewish families living in French Hill have complained of Arab harassment for several years. In late 2012 the campaign of terror escalated with the stabbing of an Israeli woman in front of her two young children, and arson attacks which police agreed had “nationalist motives.”