Monday, April 26, 2010
Someone is Going to be Killed
Within the next few years, an unprecedented event in the history of the Jewish People is probably going to take place. It will happen just a few hundred yards away from my home, on Nahar HaYarden in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet. A religious Jewish teenager is going to be beaten to death by a gang of religious Jewish men for the "crime" of being in their neighborhood and not conforming to their idea of Orthodoxy.
You don't have to be a prophet to see this coming. Over the last few years, there have been numerous stonings of vehicles and mob beatings of dati-leumi teenagers who pass through Ramat Bet Shemesh Bet on their way between Bet Shemesh and Ramat Bet Shemesh Aleph. A few months ago, a girl was thrown to the ground by a group of men and beaten.
Last week, one of the worst incidents so far took place. Today I spoke with a neighbor of mine who is the mother of one of the victims. Her teenage daughter was walking with about ten boys back from a Yom Ha-Atzmaut celebration, late at night. They were not being especially noisy or rowdy. One had an Israeli flag wrapped around him. Another engaged in a small act of vandalism, spraying a Magen David on the wall (which is decorated with various posters declaring Zionism to be idolatry, and pictures equating the Magen David with the swastika).
A group of adult men, estimated at around SEVENTY in number, descended upon the group of teenagers, armed with various implements. According to the local "Chadash" newspaper, which blamed the teenagers for the incident, the men first warned the kids to leave. According to my friend's daughter, the "warning" consisted of the mob rushing at them while yelling and brandishing weapons.
The mob knocked the teenagers to the ground and proceeded to beat them, including my neighbor's daughter. She suffered multiple bruises all over her body, and an especially large injury to her head, which is still causing her headaches and loss of sleep a week later. At one point she saw that one of her friends was being strangled, and she managed to bite the hand of the strangler, causing him to let go. Her friend thanks her for saving his life. Several of the kids had to go to the hospital, one requiring stitches in his head.
The police arrived after fifteen minutes, but the group dispersed and no arrests were made. It's too difficult for the kids to identify the men that beat them. The police are reluctant to take action in an area with thousands of hostile citizens. Nothing will be done.
This has happened before, and several dati-leumi people from my area have required medical treatment over the years. But it seems that each time, it gets more extreme. The thugs are emboldened by their success, and probably also by the new mayor, who never takes a stand against extremist influences here. And of course, while it's "only" a few dozen men actively engaged in the violence, there are many, many more who encourage it, tacitly support it, or are reluctant to speak out against it. Others detest the situation, but simply have no idea what to do about it. There is also a group of 5-6 families in RBS-B who feel terrible about what is going on and want to publicly offer their homes as safe houses for anyone who is being attacked. This shows that not everyone is guilty in that neighborhood, but also indicates how bad the situation is.
Eventually, someone will be killed. At which point perhaps the national uproar will be sufficient for firm action to be taken.
It's a tragedy that we will have to wait for a child to get killed in order for something to be done.
(Read more on this story at Arutz Sheva and Life in Israel)