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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Maale HaZeitim’

Attacks on Jewish Maale HaZeitim Continue, Jerusalem Fire Dept. Slow to Respond

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Despite the arrest of a local Arab man for repeat Molotov cocktail attacks on the eastern Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood of  Maale HaZeitim, assaults on the residential area just across from the Old City of Jerusalem continue, with two offenses occurring in the last 72 hours.

On Friday night, as residents of  Maale HaZeitim gathered in their synagogue to commemorate the Sabbath, a series of fireworks were aimed and fired at the buildings, exploding loudly and catching grass on the perimeter of the neighborhood on fire.

After a quick consultation with the synagogue’s rabbi to determine the permissibility of calling the fire department to extinguish the flames on Shabbat, a resident dialed the emergency number for Jerusalem’s fire department.  According to the resident who placed the call, no one answered the service number.  Hanging up and trying again thereafter, the phone was answered immediately by a fire department representative, who sent a fire truck to the scene.

Residents of Maale HaZeitim told the Jewish Press that the fire truck took approximately 15 minutes to arrive.  By then, the fire had consumed the perimeter grass and extinguished itself.  Fire fighters surveyed the scene, made a report, and left the neighborhood.  The perpetrator has not been apprehended.

The Friday night attack was followed by one in the afternoon on Sunday, on the opposite side of the community.  According to reports by residents of one of the buildings, a bottle of brown oil-based paint was hurled at the homes around 3:30pm, the 20th such attack in the last few months.  The balcony of an  empty apartment in Maale HaZeitim’s “Building 5″ shows splatterings of multiple colors of paint accumulated over the course of several attacks, as well as shards of broken glass from the bottles in which the paint was poured.

Though Maale HaZeitim is under the protection of the Jerusalem Police department like all other Jerusalem neighborhoods, the city also employs a special guard service to provide protection onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Despite this, attacks against the community continue, with residents expressing concern that the guards do not respond quickly to attacks.  One resident told the Jewish Press that a guard apologized to her for failing to respond to a firebomb  attack on her apartment because he had concentrated on studying for his college entrance exams and simply failed to see the assault take place.  Other residents stated that guards are afraid to respond to attacks, for fear of being incriminated by police, treated unjustly in the judicial system,  and serving time in jail for defending Jewish residents.

A Jerusalem police officer, on condition of anonymity, told the Jewish Press that guards often fail to alert local law enforcement immediately when an attack occurs, weakening the potential for a successful police response.  However, on April 30, a coordinated effort by the police, border police, and the local guards resulted in the apprehension of a man who admitted to conducting multiple firebomb attacks on the community.

Maale HaZeitim mothers have expressed concern and outrage that many of their small children have grown fearful of Arabs as a result of recent attacks, and demanded protection from the city and state, as afforded to them by right as citizens of Israel and Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Firebomber Nabbed, Jewish Mount of Olives Residents Relieved

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhood of Maale HaZeitim is resting easier, following the apprehension and arrest of a serial firebomb attacker.

Just after midnight on Monday morning, jubilant residents of Maale HaZeitim, the Jewish neighborhood situated in the Ras al-Amoud Arab neighborhood on the Mount of Olives, gathered near the entrance to their gated community to celebrate the arrest of a man in his 20s, caught throwing firebombs across the wall, into the backyards of residents.

In a mission coordinated between Jerusalem Police, Border Police, and the Maale HaZeitim guard team, forces waited until the attacker turned up for a repeat firebombing.  When the man, believed to be in his mid-20s – lit and threw a homemade firebomb toward the Jewish homes, forces leapt out, grabbing the man and arresting him.  After being interrogated at a local police station, the man admitted to the previous firebomb attacks.  Residents who witnessed the arrests heaped praise on security personnel for protecting them and their families.  News soon spread throughout the community, despite the late hour.

Residents had been terrorized for several nights by Molotov cocktails thrown at their neighborhood.  Property damage was reported, though there were no injuries.  Neighborhood children who witnessed one of the attacks were frightened, with others concerned about what future nights would bring.

Resident and tour guide specializing in the Old City of Jerusalem and its environs, Meir Eisenman, praised local law enforcement for doing its duty to protect the residents of Jerusalem.

He also noted the significance of the Jewish community on the Mount of Olives and the importance of visiting the area.

“As a tour guide, it upsets me when people are hesitant about visiting the Maale HaZeitim, or the Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery – unfortunately, the area has seen a lot of bad press,” he said.  “However, with the new police and security presence in the area, most of the time the area is totally safe.”

“I call on everyone coming to Jerusalem to come visit this beautiful and historic area,” Eisenman said.  “The more people that come, the safer it will get and the more pleasant it will feel.  It’s important that we continue showing our support for this area.”

More Molotov Cocktails Thrown at Jerusalem Jews by Arab Neighbors

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The community of Maale HaZeitim in Jerusalem was again targeted with Molotov cocktails in the early hours of Tuesday morning.  Two homemade firebombs were hurled at the homes of residents in the community, just a 15 minute walk from the Kotel in Jerusalem’s Old City.  Damage was reported to property.  There were no injuries.

On April 16, the community was attacked in a barrage of between 7 -10 firebombs.  Guards on the site shot in the air, after which the single attacker fled on foot.  When police came to investigate, they spent a significant portion of their time interrogating the guards as to why they fired their weapons, according to reports by residents at the scene.

No injuries were reported in that attack, though residents reported that children witnessing the attack became hysterical.  Damage to property resulted from fires lit by the bombs.

On February 24, two United States Congressman on tour in the area were targeted in a rock throwing attack a few feet away from the entrance to the neighborhood.

Maale HaZeitim is located on the Mount of Olives, next to the historic Mount of Olives cemetery, containing the graves of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, the Ohr HaChaim, Henrietta Szold, Eliezer Ben Yehuda and other notable Jewish figures.

Jews Attacked in Jerusalem Firebomb Barrage

Monday, April 16th, 2012

On Sunday evening, Jewish homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Maale HaZeitim were attacked with a barrage of Molotov cocktails, causing damage to property.

Miraculously, no injuries were reported, though some neighborhood children who were nearby the attack reported being traumatized by the event.  The attacker managed to throw approximately 10 homemade bombs at apartment buildings belonging to the Jewish neighborhood, before being scared off by a guard who fired his weapon in the air.

Maale HaZeitim is situated on the historic Mount of Olives, just south of the ancient Jewish cemetery containing 150,000 graves, including that of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, the Ohr HaChaim, the prophetess Hulda, Hebrew language luminary Eliezer Ben Yehuda, and Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold.  It is also nestled in the Arab neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud, and has been the site of previous attacks.

Between the buildings of Maale HaZeitim there is a courtyard which is detached from the street. Here children and residents are secure. But the back of the neighborhood is vulnerable to attack.

The six apartment buildings of Maale HaZeitim contain 100 apartments, many of which feature views on the Old City of Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount.  Residents frequently walk to and from the Old City, which is just 15 minutes away by foot, and a few minutes ride on the Egged bus which makes stops at the community throughout the day.

“I was sitting in our living room watching a television show and I saw something I thought was fireworks, but they were so close to our apartment,” Miriam, a 10 year resident of Maale HaZeitim, told the Jewish Press.  “I called the police…. There was a fire below our garden.”  Though Miriam and her family have experienced numerous attacks since moving to the new neighborhood a decade ago – including the throwing of large rocks at her car by neighborhood Arabs as she drove with her children – “I don’t know if you can ever get used to it,” she said.

While attempted violence against Jews in Maale HaZeitim has increased since Operation Cast Lead in late 2008, according to Miriam, she says police vigilance in the area has also risen.  “We’ve had other attacks were I’ve called the police and they didn’t even send a car. Last night, they sent lots of Jerusalem police and border police,” she said.  “But as long as there’s an Arab population next to us and they feel like they’re the bosses… as long as there is growing extremism, we’ll continue to face these things.”

A plaque in the neighborhood reads: "The Maale HaZeitim neighborhood was liberated by Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz with the help of Matityahu Dan of Ateret Kohanim and was built by the Kedumim 3000 company - Mr. Nisan Chakshuri, Yitchak Adiv, and Nachman Zoldan, Eve of Rosh HaShanna 5771

Aryeh King, eastern Jerusalem activist and Director of the Israel Land Fund, decried the attack as the fault of local Israeli authorities.  “The decline in security throughout Jerusalem has not spared Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramot, Shmuel HaNavi and yesterday, a targeted terror attack took place on the Maale HaZeitim neighborhood,” King told the Jewish Press.  “This is the result of the lack of decisiveness and will to come in contact with the terrorists.  This policy is directed by the police chief of Jerusalem.  This policy causes the decline of Israeli sovereignty in the various Jerusalem neighborhoods, and the increase in the last months of attacks against Jews.”

MK Dr. Aryeh Eldad told the Jewish Press: “In the last few months we are seeing a total degradation of the security situation in the Mount of Olives region. There was a case recently of an almost-lynch, where 15 youths ambushed a car by throwing paint on the windows and pelting the car with rocks. In Beit HaChoshen, one resident has had his car burned 4 times. Every day tombs are desecrated at the cemetary. Even in French Hill students are afraid to leave their dorms at night. Last night, an Arab came to the Maale HaZeitim neighborhood with 10 Molotive cocktails in a bag, then he lit a fire so that he could easily ignite his weapons. He then threw 7 cocktails.  The security saw him and shot in the air, but when the police came, and the only thing that bothered the cops is why the security fired! Nisso Shacham, the Jerusalem police chief is afraid of bad media. He wants to be national Police chief one day so he keeps a low profile, although he knows how to deal with the problem.”

Prior to the recent Passover holiday, a new police station was inaugurated on the Mount of Olives.  Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Our Home party) emphasized that the establishment of the station on the Mount of Olives is strategically important, and that it will serve to increase the security of residents and those visiting the area.

Despite the complicated nature of life in eastern Jerusalem, Miriam and her family have never questioned staying on in their neighborhood.  “Nobody ever talks about leaving.  I think the kids feel like they are living in a unique place with a purpose,” Miriam said.  “I see us as a microcosm of Israel – there are people all around us who don’t want us to be here.  We are not talking about leaving.”

 

Yishai Fleisher contributed to this article

Resurrection of the Dead: New Police Presence on the Mount of Olives

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

A milestone for the safety and security for Mount of Olives residents, tourists, and graves has arrived in the form of a new police station atop the historic peak.

Just below the Rehavam Zeevi Lookout Point next to the Seven Arches Hotel (formerly known as the Intercontinental) two brand new trailer homes have been placed and converted into a facility that will house up to 24 police personnel at any given time.

The view from the station is dramatic as it overlooks the ancient cemetery, the walls of the Old City, and the Golden Dome atop the Temple Mount. But the police, and lobby groups like the Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim, hope that the new police presence will be especially visible to the criminals who have been responsible for the uptick in violence in and around the Mount of Olives.

The new police station on the Mount of Olives facing west, towards the Old City and the Temple Mount.

Captain Dudi Chayun is the commander of the Tachanat Shalem police station across from the the Old City’s Flower Gate. Now, he is also taking charge of the new facility on the Mount of Olives. I met him there as he was dismounting a police horse. He told me that he occasionally tours the region under his command on horseback to get a closer look at what’s going on.

Captain Dudi Chayun, on left, is the head of the Tachanat Shalem police station. On right is Captian Lior, head of mounted police unit in Jerusalem. The Temple Mount can be seen behind them.

According to Chayun the new facility is really a sub-station whose purpose is to create continuity, a regular beat, between Mt. Scopus to the north and the Mt. of Olives to the south. The main artery that connects these two points is ridgeback road atop the Mt. of Olives which passes through the Arab neighborhood of A-Tur.

Of late A-Tur has become violent. Rocks have been thrown at Jewish drivers heading to the Mt. of Olives lookout, and seven cars belonging to the small Jewish community nearby have been burned. Grave desecration, is also part of toxic mix. But Captain Chayun is confident that the added police presence will help reverse the negative trends.

Jewish life is returning the the Mount of Olives. The famous Israeli flag above the Choshen building signifies Jewish presence.

In the last week, a sting operation took place where an undercover officer, dressed as an Orthodox Jew, drove through A-Tur and was pelted with stones by two youths. They were promptly arrested, and admitted the act under interrogation. Captain Chayun hopes they will be prosecuted.

The new station, at a cost of 1.2 million NIS, will have a permanent detective on premises, 3 patrol cars, and is slated to monitor the 137 cameras in and around the Mount of Olives Cemetery. The police have also begun an effort of community outreach: a meeting between the police and the Muchtarim (village elders) of A-Tur is scheduled for later this week. According to Captian Chayun: “The Arab residents will also benefit from the added services the station will provide.”

The new police station on the Mount of Olives, the Rechavam Zeevi Lookout is in the background.

Harvey Schwartz, Chairman of the Israeli Steering Committee of International Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim,was pleased with the stronger police presence which the committee has been fighting for. Harvey told me: “We have worked very hard for a long time, especially Abe and Menachem Lubinsky of Brooklyn, who have put in endless hours, days, and trips to Israel for the sole purpose of seeing the rehabilitation of Har HaZeitim, so that it should ultimately get the respect and treatment that it deserves. We consider this [Police station] to be an extremely significant development.”

The added police presence will ensure that tourists on the Mount of Olives will be safe. The Seven Arches Hotel atop the Mount of Olives in background.

Jeff Daube, the Israel director of the Zionist Organization of America, and co-chair of the International Committee, told me that erecting a new station took a multifaceted effort, including talking with the American State Department: “My office went over to Congress and the State Department and we let them know there was a significant number of Americans visiting the Mount of Olives cemetery who were subject to violence, stonings and harassment; that Americans were coming here and finding the graves of their loved ones desecrated and vandalized. We emphasized to U.S. leadership that their constituents, American voters, are being affected by this.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/resurrection-of-the-dead-new-police-presence-on-the-mount-of-olives/2012/04/11/

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