Internal Security Minister Promises Crackdown on J'lem Attacks
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Likud-Beytenu) has promised to put an end to the harassment of Jews in Jerusalem.
Aharonovich was responding to a question by MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home), in which he was challenged over a sharp increase in anti-Semitic attacks by Arab extremists in the capital.
"Half a year ago you sat with me a special panel targeting nationalistic crimes, which did not focus solely on the so-called 'Price Tag movement' [i.e. nationalistic crimes targeting Arabs - ed.], but to also investigate incidents of nationalistically-motivated crimes by Arabs against Jews. Later, I sent you a long query detailing hundreds of cases (of such attacks)," none of which have since been dealt with, she accused, despite the establishment of a special unit to tackle nationalistic crimes.
By way of example, Struk added that students at an Arab school throw rocks with impunity on a daily basis at Jews traveling to and from the Mount of Olives - again, with no action taken by police.
"We have to stop the phenomenon - and it will stop," Aharonovich assured her in response, adding that he was coordinating with the Jerusalem District police to ensure a crackdown on the violence, which has included potentially-fatal mob-attacks and rock-throwing at cars and buses.
"Both incidents in which Jews attack Arabs and those in which Arabs attack Jews must be investigated," he declared.
The Internal Security Minister went on to claim that, despite the criticisms, the special unit had scored a number of unspecified "successes", both within "the Jewish and Arab sectors".
But "nevertheless, this does not justify the (Arab) actions against Jews or vice-versa, which must be investigated, no matter by whom," he stressed.
The past few months have seen a marked increase in violent "road-terror" attacks in the Jerusalem area, as well as in Judea and Samaria. In one recent incident a two year-old girl suffered serious head injuries after the car she was traveling in was identified as "Jewish" and attacked. Avigail Ben-Tzion was recently discharged from Hadassa Ein Kerem hospital, and is continuing her recovery at home.
It was the latest in a string of attacks, which have targeted private vehicles and public buses alike. Apart from rocks, attackers sometime use firebombs and other incendiary devices in order to maximize the damage caused.
Last month, an Israeli man recounted to IDF radio the harrowing moments he saw his wife catch fire, after their car was struck by a molotov cocktail.