J'lem Mayor: Don't Talk So Much about Terrorism

Nir Barkat wants media discussion of daily terror attacks against Jews in the capital to stop, says it hurts business and cultural life.

Gil Ronen,

Nir Barkat with Arab residents of Jerusalem
Nir Barkat with Arab residents of Jerusalem
Flash 90

Faced with increasingly brazen and numerous daily Arab terror attacks on Jews, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat thinks the media should not talk about the problem too much.

The terror wave has become so unbearable of late that even leftist media sources have begun reporting it, after years in which nationalist sources like Arutz Sheva were almost the only ones who carried the news of rock attacks and firebombs against Jews.

News site 0404 has published a recodring of Barkat speaking before the City Council on Thursday.

The mayor can be heard saying: “In my opinion, if people are too afraid – and we know that the problem exists – this can serve the interests of the terrorists and rioters who want to disrupt our lives. We are must make a great effort to put the city back on routine tracks. We are not ignoring the problem. We are aware of it. This discourse does not advance us, media wise.

“We are aware of the problem. This discourse does not advance us media-wise – not the city of of Jerusalem, Every time there is a discussion and great fear about some matter, immediately the merchants and the businessmen and the cultural institutes will tell you that their income is down."

'No one hurt' on Light Rail

"I am very angry at the railway people,” he says, in a reference to the Light Rail, which has been very hard hit by terror attacks. “I, the Transport Ministry and the police are very angry at them. They could have said that Light Rail is the safest means of transport and there are zero casualties. It is protected. Instead of talking about it every day, contrary to the position of the police, the Transport Ministry and the Municipality – and by the way, they are doing so for the wrong reasons.”

The fact that Jews are no longer using the Light Rail is the railways' fault, Barkat insisted. “They are causing it. They scare people for no reason. They keep on making it public. The police closed down the Light Rail twice or thrice when the police thought that there was need for this. The fact is that although windows were smashed, no one was hurt because it is protected.”

"I trust the police on this matter and it is better for this discourse to remain outside the media. We are not avoiding anything. The prime minister is worried about this and the minister for public security is worried about this and the police commissioner and the district commander and myself and all of us. We have one police force, we cannot replace it.”

Angry responses

Readers who responded to the recording on the 0404 Facebook page angrily noted that while it may be true that there was no physical injury in the latest ambushes on the Light Rail, the attacks are severely traumatic for the children and adults who experience them.

MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) has been saying in recent days that the "Jerusalem Intifada" has begun, and MK Miri Regev (Likud) accused Jerusalem District Police chief Major General Yossi Parienti of being "a coward" in failing to deal with Arab rioters with a strong arm. 

Terror attacks in Jerusalem have grown exponentially over the past few months, a Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) report said two weeks ago. Among the incidents that took place in recent weeks were sniper fire at the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood in northern Jerusalem, the torching of Jewish vehicles, firebombs hurled at Jewish homes in Abu Tor, adjacent to the Arab neighborhood of Jebel Mukaber, and countless incidents of rock-throwing at light rail cars, buses and cars.

Earlier this month, one of the most serious incidents took place, with Arab rioters trying to blow up a gas station in the northeastern neighborhood of French Hill, adjacent to the Arab Issawiya neighborhood.




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