A group of Jewish children and their parents were targeted in a fierce rock attack Friday night outside the Maale HaZeitim neighborhood in Jerusalem, miraculously escaping serious injury. Jerusalem police who arrived to investigate were also pelted with stones – and left.
The two families from Maale HaZeitim were returning at approximately 9:30pm from a special pre- Jerusalem Day Sabbath prayer service at the Seven Arches hotel at the top of the Mount of Olives, sponsored by Pirsumei Israel and featuring well-known Israeli musician Chaim Dovid. As they passed by a series of Arab store fronts in the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood, adjacent to their homes on Jerusalem’s historic Mount of Olives, large hunks of stone and bricks began flying all around them.
“My friend and I were strolling behind our husbands who were walking with the children and pushing our baby carriages,” one woman said. “Suddenly, giant rocks began whizzing past our heads and smashing all around us.”
“I saw my friend’s husband get hit by a rock. I yelled out for my own husband, who whirled around and was also hit,” the woman said.
According to the female resident, her husband than began to scream and charged at the two hooded men, who fled the scene.
“I grabbed my 4 year old daughter by the hand, took hold of my 8 month old son’s carriage, called out to my friend and her 4 children – all of whom are aged 6 and younger – and we ran home,” she said. “As we ran, my daughter was crying – she told me she had been hit by one of the massive stones, and cried in fear for her father, who had stayed behind, along with my friend’s husband, to deal with the situation as we escaped.”
When the women and children arrived at the gate of the community, they called out for help. “I screamed at the top of my lungs, ‘Guards! Guards!’”, the woman said. The community’s guards – who are stationed in shifts on premises 24 hours a day – ran out of the building to where the attack had taken place.
“I examined my daughter, and discovered that she had miraculously only been hit in the elbow, probably by a rock ricocheting off the ground. The baby was also ok, as were my friend’s little children,” the woman said. “I spent the next few minutes – as we waited anxiously for our husbands and the guards to return – calming down the children, promising them that their fathers were alright, and encouraging them to be proud that their fathers were telling the neighborhood that we refused to be treated that way.”
“As I spoke to our sweet little children – all dressed in their beautiful Shabbat clothes – and saw my daughter look up at me with her big eyes, in her favorite flowery Shabbat dress, with just a bruise on her elbow, I realized that we had just experienced an absolute miracle,” the woman said. “There is no way, other than through divine intervention, that we had gone through such an attack and all the children were unharmed, and that our husbands had not suffered serious wounds.”
“We celebrate this Jerusalem Day knowing that the God of Israel is protecting us, and all the Jews of Jerusalem.”
Following the attack, police reportedly arrived on the scene, only to be met by more stone throwing. The police did not question the victims of the rock attack, and left a short while later.
On Sunday morning, Jerusalem Day, the two men went to file a complaint at a brand new regional police station, located close to the Seven Arches Hotel. Officers took down the information and said they would investigate the incident. According to the men, they also said they might post additional police guards and coordinate an operation to nab any future attackers.
The Friday night event at the Seven Arches hotel was organized by Pirsumei Israel, a PR and marketing company which began doing what they call “cultural tours” in Israel, connecting participants with Jewish experiences, historic places, and meaningful content throughout Israel.
CEO Yisrael Goldberg told The Jewish Press that he coordinated a special Shabbat gathering at the Seven Arches Hotel to highlight the importance of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and to take advantage of the magnificent view of the Temple Mount from the site. “There is a great thirst to hear about the Temple in Israel,” Goldberg said. “After a Shabbat like this people connect. They live all over the country, and they just don’t know about the situation in eastern Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. When you bring them in, it helps them understand.”
Residents of Maale HaZeitim, situated across from the Old City of Jerusalem on the historic Mount of Olives, have been the target of several recent attacks. Despite this, residents have expressed their pride at reclaiming the area for the Jewish people, and called the community a wonderful place to live, in convenient proximity to the center of Jerusalem. They have demanded that the Jerusalem police department crack down on nearby Arab residents with Israeli citizenship, saying all Israelis should be accountable to Israeli law.
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