By outside appearances it would seem life in Israel has returned to normal following the conclusion of the summer’s Gaza war. However, in Jerusalem, what the Israeli press has dubbed the “silent intifada” is raging, and growing more dangerous by the day.
On Tuesday night, a 44-year-old religious Jewish man was badly injured when a gang of Palestinian Arabs attacked his vehicle with stones in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.
It was far from an isolated incident.
Over the past several weeks, stabbings, rock-throwing and firebomb attacks have become a daily occurrence for Jews that dare stray into Arab-dominated neighborhoods. And when no Jews can be found on their own streets, Arab gangs have been moving into Jewish neighborhoods like French Hill to cause havoc there.
In all, 152 such attacks were registered in July and August.
Police this week arrested 22 suspects, some as young as nine-years-old, who were involved in some of the latest attacks. But local residents say the authorities are doing far too little.
“Until there is blood, no one is going to take the hard measures needed to end this violence,” wrote Orly Goldklang, deputy editor of the Israeli daily newspaper Makor Rishon. “These relatively minor acts of terror (and Israel’s failure to react strongly) are setting the stage for much larger attacks.”
Indeed, this has been a common criticism of Israeli authorities for years. Typically, the police and army are not given a green light to respond in force until Palestinian terrorists actually manage to kill or wound enough Israelis.
“If we don’t come to our senses soon, a far greater outbreak of violence is only a matter of time,” warned columnist Nadav Shragai in the daily Israel Hayom.