Three young Israelis and a visiting Australian friend of theirs nearly lost their lives this week after accidentally entering an Arab neighborhood no the outskirts of Jerusalem, where the local residents felt compelled to violently attack the wayward Jews.
The three Israelis explained to Israel’s Ynet news portal that they are from the Tel Aviv area, and don’t know Jerusalem very well. So, after picking up their foreign friend from the Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus, they made a wrong turn on their way downtown. Instead, they ended up in the village of Issawiya.
After realizing their mistake, one of the Israelis pulled over and asked a young Arab boy how to get to downtown Jerusalem. Instead of helping them, the boy called for a nearby Arab man. The two chuckled at the Israelis and the man made a phone call before telling the motorists to continue straight deeper into Issawiya. It was an ambush.
As the car reached the center of the village, the Israelis said young men started to appear everywhere with iron bars and bricks. They even hastily erected a makeshift roadblock to prevent the Israelis from escaping. The Arabs then proceeded to smash the car repeatedly with their bars and bricks.
“I had never encountered such a situation of helplessness without any preparation, and with friends and a terrified tourist,” said the driver of the car. “Several minutes later we were surrounded, and I realized that I must drive my car into the barrier if I want to get out of here alive.”
The four managed to get out of the center of Issawiya only to find that the local residents had used several taxis to block the road further on. Fortunately, they had failed to close one small gap, which the driver of the Israeli vehicle managed to squeeze through and reach safety.
While they managed to escape with their lives, the three Israelis and the young Australian girl will always be haunted by the evening they accidentally strayed into a Palestinian village.
“It was like entering a nightmare. They had a look of murder in their eyes,” one of them recounted after the ordeal. “Had we stayed there one more minute we wouldn’t be alive anymore. It wasn’t just an attempt to stone us, but an intentional desire to lynch us only several meters way from the university.”
The world likes to paint the local Arabs as living under siege, while the Israelis uncaringly lord over the land. But the reality, even in Jerusalem, is that Arabs can go just about anywhere without risking their lives, while Jews or other non-Arabs are in mortal danger any time they enter Arab areas. There is an exception for foreign media and diplomats, of course, as those are the people the Arabs are trying to convince that they are an oppressed but peaceful society.