Photo Credit: Avshalom Sassoni / Flash 90
Jaffa (Yafo), March 2020

While walking down a street in Jaffa, Rabbi Mali and Moshe Shendowitz, the director of the yeshiva, were attacked by a group of Arab assailants who surrounded the two and proceeded to harass and mock Rabbi Mali and Shendowitz.

When Rabbi Mali and Shendowitz took out their cellular phones to call for help, several of the Arabs assaulted them, punching and kicking the two victims.

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Shendowitz was injured in the attack, and was hospitalized afterwards.

Rabbi Mali filed a police complaint shortly after the assault.

Roughly one hour after the complaint was filed, police managed to locate and apprehend two Arab suspects.

The suspects have been identified as residents of Jaffa in their 30s.

“They punched and kicked me,” said Shendowitz in an interview with Channel 13, emphasizing that the attack was nationalistically-motivated. “When people scream at you because you’re wearing a kippah, that you’re a ‘settler’ and that you should get out of there, that doesn’t seem like a ‘criminal’ incident.

The above report that I just read this moment has a special significance for me.

On Pesach I led a group of visitors to the yeshiva in Yafo.

We met the amazing heroes who volunteer on the front lines of the battle for Jewish souls and communities in “challenging” areas of our Jewish state.

We learned about the wonderful work the yeshiva is doing for the Jewish poor of the “mixed” city of Yafo.

We learned how abandoned and teetering synagogues are being revitalized both physically and spiritually. Jewish life, almost snuffed out is flickering again.

Not everyone is happy about this.

The Arabs and Left in Israel do not celebrate this change.

Actually, Arab residents too, receive food packages and aid from the yeshiva’s outreach program. The approach is; be a good and generous neighbor and the Arabs will accept the presence of young Jews who are trying to revitalize the area both physically and spiritually.

When it was explained to me that the yeshiva offers their largess and care to Arab residents as well, I felt a tinge of doubt.

I wondered if one can really buy an enemy’s gratitude and friendship.

What and how much can money and food really buy?

Ask some Liberals and they will tell you that there is not a problem that cannot be solved with “money and understanding.”

They probably have no personal beliefs that transcend a money value.

They don’t understand that some people cannot be bought or appeased.

Is the truth about the enemies amongst us so unpleasant and unwelcome that we rather continue the charade than face it honestly?

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Shalom Pollack, a veteran Israeli tour guide, served in the Israeli Navy and lectures on the Mideast.