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Arab Youths Attack Rabbi Visiting his Murdered Son's Grave

Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen tells Arutz Sheva of the harrowing attack; 40-minute assault highlights lack of police presence at Mt. of Olives.
By Tova Dvorin and Ari Soffer
First Publish: 1/15/2014, 4:16 PM

Arab rock thrower (illustration)
Arab rock thrower (illustration)
Flash 90

Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen, whose son Neria Cohen was murdered in the Mercaz HaRav attack in 2008, was violently attacked by Arab youths as he visited his son's grave on the Mount of Olives yesterday. 

"Yesterday I went with my wife and children to my son's gravesite," the Rabbi recounted, in an interview with Arutz Sheva. "At the end of the road on Mount of Olives, I saw a group of Arab youths - they immediately began throwing stones at our car." 

"[Arab] youths have tried three separate times to hurt us along that road," he continued. "I tried to travel in a zigzag pattern [to avoid them] and they were literally chasing after us." 

After trying in vain to avoid the rampaging mob, Rabbi Cohen found himself cornered. As rocks rained down on his car he realized he had little choice by to draw his weapon.

"I got out with a drawn pistol; it was a matter of time before I would use it. I stress that these were not children, but teenagers who were not afraid to launch rocks at commuters on a main road." 

"The Arab teenagers escalated this to the extreme, to the point where we almost came to live fire," he noted.

Rabbi Cohen also had harsh words for the local police, who were conspicuously absent throughout the entire attack.

"There is also no doubt that the police are guilty of incompetence against Jerusalem and the State of Israel. It took those teenagers 40 minutes to get to us" without a police officer in sight.

Noting the potential lethality of hurling rocks and other projectiles at speeding vehicles, he expressed disbelief at the apparent lack of motivation by security forces to deal with the phenomenon of Arab rock-throwers.

"They need to understand that a rock could severely injure someone for life. Why isn't this important to the State and the police?" 

Noting the bitter irony of his particular experience, Rabbi Cohen lamented the "paradoxical situation, where a bereaved father cannot visit the gravesite of his son - who was killed in a terror attack - because of terrorists. It's a terrible situation." 

The Rabbi places the responsibility squarely on the State's shoulders. Clearly, he said, "the Prime Minister does not consider rock attacks on Israeli citizens important," he stated. "The Mount of Olives is a holy place for the entire Jewish people, and we cannot allow this lawlessness to continue." 

Numerous rock-throwing attacks were launched against Jews visiting the Mount of Olives in September, who were praying at the historic site just before the Rosh Hashanah holiday. One New York family was attacked by rioting Arabs and eventually required hospitalization. 

A Knesset committee hearing called in November to assess the situation on the Mount of Olives left little changed, ending with the decision not to assign more police to the site until the Defense Ministry could assess the full extent of the danger.