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Almost lynched in East Jerusalem for being Jewish

Jun 28, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Almost lynched in East Jerusalem for being Jewish
Photograph from a riot in East Jerusalem last year

Initial reports emerged yesterday of an Israeli delivery driver who narrowly avoided being lynched by an Arab mob. This follows a similar incident last November, when four students, including one Australian tourist were stoned by a mob after taking a wrong turn and driving through an Arab neighbourhood. Melanie Lidman has now written the rather shocking full story of yesterday’s incident in The Jerusalem Post:

Nachson was going towards Ma’aleh Adumim to deliver a package for his delivery company, Cheetah, when he attempted to make a shortcut near the Hadassah Har Hatzofim Hospital to avoid traffic.

Near Hebrew University, his GPS advised him to turn onto the main road in Issawiya. When he made the turn, an 11-year-old boy saw his car and started yelling “Al-Yahud,” and a crowd of young people suddenly materialized and surrounded his vehicle, Nachson said in the interview.

“Dozens of people were throwing blocks and stones and pounding on the car, from what I remember from all directions,” he said, adding that he hadn’t even heard of the neighborhood before his ordeal.

Using rocks and heavy objects, the mob broke through the windows of the car, opened the doors, and started beating him.

Fortunately, he was saved by a leader of the local community who is opposed to such violence.

Darwish took Nachson to his house where he gave him water and tried to wash his face, which was covered with blood. A few minutes later Darwish told Nachson that he had to leave because it wasn’t safe for him to stay there, and brought a car next to the house, despite Nachson’s pleas for police or border police to accompany him out of the village.

Three other men promised to defend him against the crowd, which had already started burning his car, and drove him quickly to the entrance to the neighborhood where he was met by border police and taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, in light-to-moderate condition.

“We are against violence between peoples, not just on the Arab side,” Darwish told Channel 2 on Sunday evening. “As a nation we need to stand up and say ‘enough violence!'” Darwish visited Nachsom at his home in Ma’aleh Adumim on Monday afternoon, after he was released from the hospital.

This episode really illustrates the underlying tensions in Jerusalem and the extremely hostile mentality of some of its Arab residents – as well as the divisions within the Arab community where there are, fortunately, those who will stand up to violence. It is very hard to imagine a solution to the conflict when there is so much hatred in the area that it is not even safe for a Jew to drive through an Arab neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

Moderates like Darwish are the best hope for peace and must be encouraged to speak-out. Unfortunately however, their voices are all-too often silenced by a traditional Palestinian narrative of “resistance” which often intimidates sensible moderates like the courageous Darwish.

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