Chaim Nativ digs hole for cornerstone
Chaim Nativ digs hole for cornerstone Israel News Photo: Tzvi Enosh

Dozens of stone-throwing Arabs attacked Jews of the Bat Ayin community, south of Jerusalem, on Wednesday morning. The Jews had gathered on a hill known as Mukhtar Mound, adjacent to Bat Ayin to recite the Blessing of the Sun and to place a cornerstone for the synagogue of a new community on the Jewish-owned land.

The prayers and ceremonies were coordinated with the local regional council and army, which escorted the Bat Ayin residents, Bat Ayin Yeshiva Dean Rabbi Natan Greenberg told Israel National News.

Trouble started after the Jews concluded the Blessing of the Sun at the site, now called Arzei Shlomo (Cedars of Solomon), in memory of 13-year-old Shlomo Nativ, who was murdered in an Arab axe attack last week, and Erez Levanon who was killed by Arab terrorists two years ago. The site was purchased by Jews in the 1930's.

More than 200 Bat Ayin residents walked away from the ceremony and to the site of the planned synagogue, where Chaim Nativ, father of the young terror victim, drove cornerstones into the ground with an axe, the same tool used to murder his child a week earlier. Daniel Winston, said his son, who was a classmate of Shlomo, made the axe handle out of a fig tree.

The participants in the ceremony built three walls, approximately three feet high and three feet wide, out of stones they gathered at the scene until Arabs began to attack them with rocks. The soldiers refrained from escalating the confrontation and held fire until the Arabs called for reinforcements over a loudspeaker system and began shouting in Arabic "Death to Jews" while the Jews retaliated with rock throwing.

As the Arab crowd approached the Jews, the soldiers shot and wounded at least one person critically. Arab sources reported that more than a dozen others suffered lesser wounds, mostly from tear gas. Rabbi Greenberg said that Arab claims that the Jewish residents shot and caused property damage at a nearby village were "total lies."

Reuters told its readers around the world that that "dozens of Israelis...rampaged..., smashing car windows and damaging homes." It quoted Arabs that the Jews smashed car windows but did not offer any evidence and did not quote Jewish denials.

Winston said that the community plans to return to the site for afternoon prayers at 1:30 (6:30 a.m. EDT) on Wednesday.

Rabbi Greenberg explained that the construction of a synagogue as the first step for the new community is based on the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who said that one should pray on land where one wants to establish a community.

The location of the planned community is adjacent to a lookout point that Bay Ayin residents say Arab terrorists use to observe the movement of the Bat Ayin residents.

Following the Arab attack, the Jews returned to Bat Ayin for a ceremony marking the seventh day since the gruesome murder of the 13-year-old. A seven-year-old child also suffered moderate wounds in the attack. The terrorist escaped, and no arrests have been made.