Police Disgrace in the Old City of Jerusalem

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House (www.heritagehouse.org.il) and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives (www.youngjewishconservatives.org). He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....

Any who is familiar with daily life in the Old City of Jerusalem knows what a disaster the situation with the Israeli Police is. However, to those not familiar, the situation can be quite shocking. 

When reading history books about the Old City of Jerusalem and other prominent places in Israel from during the time of the British Mandate, one can't help but accuse the British Administration of blatant anti-Semitism for appointing Arab policeman to "protect" and police the Jewish residents. Of course this was a complete disaster in both good times and bad. It was a reckless and fateful policy that is rightfully viewed very negatively many years later. 

There is very little differece today!!! Only its the Israeli Government and Police leadership that has implemented the exact same policy. Virtually all the police in the Old City are Arab men. We are fortunate to have many dedicated Jewish and non-Jewish borderpoliceman, but they must be subservient to their Arab policemen superiors. Don't believe me? Come see for yourself. Read the name tags, its not rocket science. 

Hardly a day goes by without problems with the police. Of course this is in stark contrast to relations between Jewish Communities and the local police around the world. I travel across the world on behalf of my non-profit organization and have never had any unpleasant interaction with the police in any country. Only when I return to my own neighborhood is persectution from the police guaranteed and constant. 

Those who suffer the worst are the Jewish children. But also Jewish students and tourists entering through Jaffa Gate into the waiting fangs of the Arab policemen. Again, don't believe me? Come watch! 

Everyone knows about it. I was just in New York and happened to pray in the same synagogue on Shabbat as the new "Rabbi of the Israeli Police". I tried to avoid him, but eventually some congregants insisted on introducing us to each other. I said "Shabbat Shalom" and then immediately began to protest the indefensible situation of the Israeli Police in the Old City and specifically their constant persecution of our children. He was not surprised at all. 

This past Shabbat, a seven year old boy and other minors were arrested for being near the Lions Gate. The children were forced into police cars and driven (ON SHABBAT!!) to the police station for detention and questioning. The arresting Arab policeman spoke openly about how the children are rude to him and that was why he was doing this. Are you surprised by this? You wouldn't be if you lived here. 

The situation is a NATIONAL SHAME! In Jerusalem? Our Capital?!! Persecution of Jewish Children (and adults) on a regular basis! The head of the police wears a kippah and allows this to go on!  I implore anyone with any influence to use it to remove this evil plague from the Jewish Community of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Until then, all we can say is:

Ana Hashem Hoshea Na! Ana Hashem Hosheah Na!

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem