Posts Tagged ‘Israeli Arabs’

A Death in Lod

In Crime in Israel on October 6, 2010 at 00:59

Death and despair in Lod

Last night, Amal Khalili, a lawyer and the mother of three, was shot to death in her car on the streets of Lod. The police are claiming it is “just” another Honor Killing.

However, her grieving family is expressing outrage at police assertions , claiming that police jumped to that conclusion to save themselves the trouble of tracking down the real perpetrators of this drive-by shooting. “The police have gone bankrupt,” the father says.

With 10 of 13 murders committed over the last 2 years unsolved, Lod residents are not just losing their sense of security: they are losing their sense of outrage over what is happening in their city.

That is a death none of us can afford.

After Lod murders: Riot police units enter the city

A large number of security forces were placed in Lod this morning to increase security in the city. “Where they were they yesterday?” a resident wondered.
Yesterday’s murder of a woman in front of her daughter was the 12th such murder in the last two years. Only two of the cases were solved. Among the police, accusations and explanations abound: Meanwhile, everyone is remaining silent about  the investigation

Eli Senior

In Lod they aren’t taking chances, not when a man and a woman were murdered in the city in less than 48 hours: To maintain order and, perhaps more importantly, to restore some confidence in the city in which 12 people were murdered in the last two years, today (Tuesday) the entire Border Police “Shlomo” Company together with the Central Division Special Police were dispatched to Lod. The undeclared goal of their deployment is to make contact with the Arab population and to prevent the next murder.

“I do not think these murders would have been prevented if there had been were more police officers,” said Lod’s Police Chief Deputy Superintendent Yossi Kedem. “Last year’s murders were mainly due to clan conflicts; this year they are more often ‘family honor’ killings.”

In Lod, apparently, residents no longer get excited by serious criminal incidents. Drivers passing by tonight on Sokolov Street near the murder scene testified to the indifference to such cases . No crowd gathered around the car in which Khalili Amal was shot to death. The drivers, who saw the flashing police lights, just kept driving. “It’s not interesting to anyone anymore, not even to the police,” said one of the drivers who continued on his way.

The residents feel that murders have become routine. In the past two years, a dozen people have been murdered in Lod – but only two of the murders were solved – one, a case of a man who strangled his wife to death.

“The Population Doesn’t Cooperate”

So why can’t the police solve the murders? “Ask the Yamar Center,” says Police Commander Chief Superintendent Kedem. Yamar, the district’s flagship unit, is the unit that solved the Oshranko Family’s murder, the murder of the little girl, Rose and many other murders. But, in Lod, even the Yamar falls short.

The head of the Investigation Squad, Top Deputy Ofer Muallem, considered one of the Police’s best investigators, is familiar with the city inside and out.

“Our biggest problem is that we do not have strong intelligence capabilities and the population here does not cooperate with us,” admitted a source in the county police department. “We know who was killed, the residents know who the killer is, but during the investigations they remain silent. If you do not catch the killer red-handed, then you do not have the weapon he used and you can not get an indictment. “

Ultimately, the end result does not interest the residents or the city leaders. For them, the police are not trying hard enough. “The fact is that in Ramle, which is also a mixed Jewish-Arab city and is around the corner, there is order,” said Joseph, who lives in Lod.  Top regional officials are gradually seeing the city go from being a little headache to a big problem. That seem to be why they brought in the police reinforcements.

“Where they were yesterday?” one resident wondered, “and the big question, where will they be a week from now?”.

Lod Victim’s Father: This Has Nothing To Do With Family Honor

The family of Amal Halili from Lod who was shot to death in front of her daughter in her car last night rejected police assertions that she was killed for “family honor”.

“They are looking for a convenient excuse to close the case. Their goal is to work as little as possible,” said her sister to NRG Ma’ariv. Her father added: “It had nothing to do with Family Honor. The police have gone bankrupt”.

Nativ Nahmani | 10/05/2010 21:51 NRG

“The police are looking for a convenient excuse for this murder so they immediately claim that the motive is family honor, just as they say regarding most of the murders in our community, because they want to close cases”. Thus stated Amira Baaba , sister of Amal Khalili, who was killed last night in Lod, in an interview with  NRG Ma’ariv, this evening (Tuesday). Baaba, a lawyer, added “Their goal is to make the least of it.” The victim’s father, Ahmad, also responded harshly to the   police assessment: “What are they waiting for? The next murder? “.

The father insists that no one in their family is responsible for what happened. “She and her husband have been divorced for over a year. They are not in touch and we do not suspect his family. The rest of the family is her family, so what? Are we suspects now? … Her two brothers are lawyers, the third is a pharmacist and she herself was a respectable, well-educated woman.”

“The police want the solution to their  investigations to walk into their office”, the father added. “They determined that the murder was anhonor killing ten minutes after they arrived at the scene. The police have gone bankrupt … I’m glad that the response of the authorities was to bring a large police force here. The criminals here only understand force.”

A Drive-By Shooting

Khalili was shot last night while driving her car with her 15-year-old brother and her 8 year-old daughter. As they drove,  opened fire. One bullet lodged in her neck, causing her death.

Khalili, divorced with three children, filed a police complaint last month against her  ex-husband’s parents for harassment. However, police point out that the next day she canceled it and that no further complaints were filed.

Yesterday, the Chairman of Lod’s Administration Committee Retired Brigadier General Ilan Harari, called upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare a “root canal” in the city to strike back against rising crime in the streets.

According to Harari, this is a frightening reality that has become the daily routine of the city of Lod. “Almost every day the sounds of gunfire are heard repeatedly in variuos areas of the city, along with serious violations of public order and the rule of law. Bullying, harassment, threats, damage to property, reckless driving and assaults on passers-by have become routine features of life in the city day and night,” Harari wrote, adding:” It is obvious that the criminals are not worried about the police at all. “

Peace, Politics & A Stabbing in a Church

In violence prevention on April 25, 2010 at 12:31

Strange Contrast: A Stabbing in The Church & Peace Among Warriors

You’ve probably noticed by now that I avoid political discussion. It’s not that I am not interested in politics. Here in Israel, politics is not only THE “national sport”, it is a matter of survival. It is too close too close to my heart to remain in my head.  And I am not the only one who feels that way.

Take the story below, for instance. What motivated the stabbing in The Church? Is it anti-Christian terrorism? Is it internecine violence? Or is it a lone crazy with a knife? The facts are not yet known but your opinion as to how the facts will play out will probably depend on your beliefs, your knowledge and your fears. Not on the statistics. Your heart, not your head.

All of which brings me to this past weekend. Every three months or so, I get together with this very unusual group of martial artists collectively known as Budo For Peace (BFP).

Budo For Peace is a non-profit organization founded and led by Danny Hakim, a high-ranking teacher of Shotokan Karate. Danny travels the world to train and compete. During a get-together in Japan, he was struck by the fact that, when adherents to the practice and values of the martial arts get together, they work in harmony despite the political climate outside the door. Iranians, Iraqis, Afghanis, Americans, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews- as long as TV cameras keep their distance, the participants’ common purpose blurred the political, religious and social lines between them.

Danny returned to Israel with a dream. With the help of a Japanese government grant and donors like 1-2-1 in Britain and Sugat in Israel, he  created Budo For Peace, an organization of instructors  from a wide range of populations, Jewish, Arab, Druse and Bedouin, who teach traditional martial arts- Karate, Aikido, Ju-jitsu, etc.- to  students ages 9-13 and 14-16,  together with the arts’ traditional values: honesty, loyalty, courage, gentleness, kindness, respect and so on. BFP’s Values Education curriculum is based on  a book written by American martial arts instructor Terrence Webster-Doyle.

Three to four times a year, the instructors spend Thursday-Friday working out together, learning games and teaching strategies, planning activities and, most importantly, practicing what they preach, creating an Island of Peace in which the bonds between them take center stage and the world, with all its conflicts, melts away.

When I was first invited to take part in Budo For Peace, I recoiled. It was inconceivable to me that a gathering of Israeli Arabs and Jews would not be rife with hand-wringing and propaganda. I told Danny I would come but, at the first hint of a political agenda, I told him “I’m out of there”.  I never left. Even though I have no BFP dojo of my own, I have continued to attend these sessions for three years.

Sometimes, when we are all sitting in the classroom, joking around like a group of grade-schoolers, I take a mental leap back and realize that I am living a dream, that for 20 hours, as John Lennon might say “the world is one”.

How strange that it is the so-called “Fighting Arts” that  create the framework for such a peaceful gathering. How strange and, yet, how fitting. When people of good will have confidence in themselves and in their ability to stand their ground,  then they have the power to choose how to respond, rather than to react to the world around them.

When the Head, The Heart and the Body are one, then the world can live as one.

Tourist Shot After Attacking Church Goers

Man seriously wounded in chest, leg after trying to stab worshipers, policemen in Church of Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem; his identity and motive unclear

Shmulik Grossman

April 23, 2010


A tourist was shot by a policeman on Friday evening after trying to stab worshipers and police officers at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. One police officer was lightly injured in the incident.

The officer ordered the tourist to put his knife down, but the man refused and threatened to hurt one of the worshipers. He then attempted to stab a policeman as well.

A Magen David Adom crew dispatched to the area attended to the tourist, who sustained serious wounds, and evacuated him to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. A hospital official said he was injured in the leg and chest. His identity is unknown.

The security forces are looking into the incident and the stabber’s motives.

According to eyewitnesses, two priests and a policeman had asked the worshipers to leave the church just before its closing hour. When they approached the tourist, he pulled out a knife and after refusing to put it down, the policeman sprayed him with tear gas. The tourist was shot after rioting and threatening to hurt one of the worshipers.

The officer who shot the tourist said he aimed at the upper part of the man’s body after he had tried to stab him and a priest standing next to him. A police investigation revealed that the tourist arrived in Israel on Friday, bought the knife in the Old City and hid it between his clothes.

Many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and then resurrected at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Violence We Prevent Makes No Headlines

In violence prevention on October 26, 2009 at 16:12
Young Arab Jerusalemites Learning How To Stop Violence Against Them

Young Arab Women in Jerusalem Learning How To Stop Violence Directed Against Them

While rocks and words fly in response to the  Imams’ outlandish fantasy of some Jewish conspirency to retake the Temple Mount, there is a real battle going on right here in the halls of El HaLev, a battle to prevent violence.

For the last two Sundays, 16 young Arabic-speaking women served by the Arab section of the Youth Advancement Department of the Jerusalem Municipality  have made their way from their homes in East Jerusalem, Shuafat, Beit Zafafa and Sheikh Jarrah to our headquarters in the Talpiot section of Jerusalem for an IMPACT for Teens Self-Defense Course. In IMPACT, they learn how to feel and trust their intuition,   identify dangerous situations,  use words and body language to discourage potential attackers and, when necessary, to employ full-power self-defense techniques that can enable them to disable their attackers and survive.

According to one of our IMPACT staff members: “It’s really hard to tell who is more excited about this course: the girls, their community workers or the staff of El HaLev.”

For these students, who tend to  come from families on the less-educated, less-affluent side of Arab society, these skills are a virtual revolution.

Violence Against Women in The Arab Sector

In order to confront the fear of violence, these girls are dealing with enormous issues concerning who their society views violence against women. According to a poll conducted last year by Naamat Women, some 70% of Arab women in Israel believe that women who are pushed, slapped or struck by their male partners are not victims of domestic violence.  Some 73% believe that women whose partners curse or humiliate them are not victims of violence.

Similarly, these girls are growing up female under the cloud of  “honor killing”, the murder of women and girls by  family members as the result of  such things as  dressing in an “immodest” or “too-Western” manner, opting out of  arranged marriages or engaging in certain sexual acts, including being the victims of rape.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that the annual worldwide total of honor-killing victims may be as high as 5,000. UNICEF reports, based on 1999 estimates, that more than two-thirds of all murders in the Gaza strip and the West Bank were most likely ‘honor’ killings.

Against this background and these odds, and despite the difficulty getting out of their neighborhoods under the current conditions, these brave girls have completed eight of the 16 hours of this  four-session course. I am certain that they will be back next week, and the week after to finish their course. Despiteit all, they seem bound and determined to ensure that they acquire the skills to keep at bay the violence that lives and breathes all around them.

Untold thanks to our staff, the staff of the Arab section of Jerusalem’s Youth Advancement Department and the Kathryn Ames Foundation, whose generous contribution made this course possible.

The rioters in the Old City and their sympathizers may be making headlines. But WE are making a difference!

Jerusalem: Temple Mount riots resume

Efrat Weiss
Latest Update:     10.25.09, 15:27 / Israel News

Nine police officers were lightly injured Sunday stones and Molotov cocktails hurled at forces stationed at the Temple Mount as part of the high state of alert in the area. A female Australian reporter was lightly injured by stones in the Old City.

Forces patrolling the area also noticed oil poured on the floor, apparently in order to cause the officers to slip and make their activity in the area more difficult.

A police force entered the Temple Mount compound in order to catch the stone throwers, using shock grenades. More than 18 people were arrested on the Mount and in its surroundings, including senior Fatah member Khatem Abdel Kader, who is charge of the Jerusalem portfolio in the Palestinian organization.

Palestinians and members of the Waqf reported that at least eight worshippers were injured, but the police said they were unaware of any injuries.

Abdel Kader was arrested at the Temple Mount plaza after allegedly rioting, assaulting policemen and calling on worshippers to launch a parade. He was taken in for questioning by the Jerusalem Police’s minority unit.

Three masked Arab men were arrested in the afternoon hours after hurling stones at the security forces in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. Police also detained Ali Abu Sheikha, No. 3 in the Islamic Movement’s northern branch.

Abu Sheikha was arrested on suspicion of rioting and calling on residents to go out and demonstrate. In mid October he was detained on suspicion of inciting Arabs near the Temple Mount during the riots which began on Yom Kippur Eve.

Another incident was recorded when Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) tried to enter the Temple Mount but was stopped by the police. “This is extremely severe,” Tibi said in response. “The police are violating the law. It’s not in their authority. The al-Aqsa Mosque is not a closed military zone.”

Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen told reporters while visiting the Mount, “I identify many large groups of east Jerusalem Arabs and Israeli Arabs who have arrived here following calls made by the Islamic Movement, whose leaders are here. I call on them to practice restraint and calm and not to incite.

“The Jerusalem Police will act firmly against any rioters on the Temple Mount. The inciters are the same people you know. It’s impossible that the Israel Police will have to deal with the Islamic Movement every Sunday, and so we will handle this on the investigative level.”

He clarified that the police did not enter the al-Aqsa Mosque and had no plans to do so.

The Jerusalem Police accused elements in the Islamic Movement and Hamas of inflaming the situation after calling on youngsters to riot on the Temple Mount on Saturday.

Police officials clarified that the forces were prepared for the disturbances and exerted efforts to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount, allowing worshippers and tourists to enter the site. Several minutes after the Mount opened for prayers, however, rioters began hurling stones, objects, Molotov cocktails, acid and oil at police officers patrolling the area, forcing the police to enter the site.

Mount closed to visitors

Following the violent incidents, the police closed the mount to Muslim worshippers and visitors. The Jewish worshippers’ prayers in the Western Wall are continuing as planned, while the reinforced police forces remain in the area to prevent another outbreak of riots.

The area was cleared of worshippers, apart from several dozen young men who remained inside the mosque. The police are trying to hold a dialogue with different representatives, including the Waqf, in order to calm things down.

Tensions high on Temple Mount

The violence spread to other places in the Old City, and in one alley Arabs hurled stones at passersby and policemen. There were no reports of injuries or damage, and the police began searching for the stone throwers.

The police fear the recurrence of violent incidents on the Mount after Arabs in east Jerusalem and northern Israel were urged Saturday to come protect the al-Aqsa Mosque, while right-wing activists called on Jews to come visit the Temple Mount in masses.

The police decided Saturday evening not to close the Mount to visitors and not to limit the age of Muslim worshippers, but vowed to act firmly against any attempt to cause disturbances or change the status quo on the Mount and in its surroundings.

The Islamic Movement announced that it would make buses available for worshipers who wish to arrive at the mosque Sunday. The movement’s spokesman Zahy Nujeidat said the flyer calling Arabs to protect the area was issued “in response to those who try and desecrate al-Aqsa.”

According to police, there was a call for the capital’s Arab residents to “protect Temple Mount from Jewish conquest,” as well as a call on Jews by extreme-right elements to arrive at the compound.