Jews in eastern Jerusalem began defending themselves against Arab terror Sunday night and patrolled the streets of the Maaleh Zeitim after a barrage of firebomb and rock-throwing attacks.
Jerusalem City Councilman Aryeh King, who lives in Maaleh Zeitim, said:
The police continue to abandon me and my neighbors. In light of the inability of the police to stop attacks against us, a neighborhood police force began operating tonight.
He said four Molotov cocktails and dozens of rocks were hurled at his house last night in another round of Arab attacks that seems to escalate with each day in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
A firebomb also was thrown at a bus on its way to the Binyamin region in Samaria, and the driver was slightly injured by glass in his eye from a smashed windshield.
A hail of rocks was thrown at police at Damascus Gate, where a terrorist from Hebron stabbed and critically wounded a Border Police officer in the morning. The policeman managed to shoot and wound the terrorist and his condition remains serious to critical.
In Ramleh, near Ben Gurion Airport, yeshiva student Elad Ben Dayan said Arab youth threw firecrackers at the yeshiva courtyard and tried to assault yeshiva students.
“It was a miracle no one was hurt,” he said.
The situation in Maaleh Zeitim and in other Jewish neighborhoods in eastern and northern Jerusalem has grown from bad to worse the past year, and King has complained to the police several times of inadequate protection.
Rock-throwing ambushes, with Arab cars blocking roads to trap Jewish motorists, are common.
The vigilante force could be a huge contribution to security of the police and the Jewish residents were to follow the example of similar forces outside of Israel and cooperate.
In Baltimore, the Northwest Citizens Patrol has won praise from police for preventing crime, and the police coordinate action with the local force.
In Israel, the police and Jewish residents of eastern Jerusalem as well as in most of Judea and Samaria see each other as enemies. Every Jewish community in Judea and Samaria has its own first-response team to beef up security because the IDF cannot deploy soldiers in every town, but police generally are negative towards “settlers.” Hundreds of incidents have been reported of the police releasing Jews after arbitrarily charges them with violations that did not occur.
The same is true in Jerusalem, where the police would prefer not have to deal with thousands of Arab rioters protesting the presence of Jews.
The local force does not have powers of arrest, but a constant patrol can be a deterrent, although Arabs bent on violence undoubtedly will test them in the beginning with attacks.
If King and the police can get on the same page, they might discover that they are allies and not foes.