A Jewish Israeli man, his wife and their one-year-old baby nearly paid with their lives last week after deciding to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Israel Lafah, a resident of Beit Shemesh, was taking his wife and baby to Judaism’s holiest site to celebrate their wedding anniversary. But then they were taken on an ill-advised detour into the A-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Soon after, their vehicle began to be pelted by stones and bricks.
“We were surrounded by young men consumed by hate,” Israel told the Ma’ariv news outlet. “I told my wife that if we can’t get out of there in the next few seconds, we were finished. My life flashed before my eyes. It’s still difficult to process.”
The couple related that in addition to being attacked with stones, some of the assailants attempted to open the car doors and pull them from the vehicle.
“I’m unfamiliar with the roads in Jerusalem, so I turned on Waze, which seemed to be taking us through only Jewish areas until the Western Wall,” Israel recounted. “But about seven minutes from our destination, the route was changed. We were soon in a traffic jam, and I saw a young Arab man identify us as ultra-Orthodox Jews. I knew something bad was about to happen.”
He immediately phoned the police, but before they could answer the first stones smashed into the car. A mob soon surrounded the distressed family and Israel only just managed to lock the doors before several assailants tried to enter the vehicle.
“It was a merciless attack,” said the shell-shocked Jewish man.
The police did finally answer, but were unable to reach the family. Israel said that an officer helpfully directed him to floor the gas, forcing the mob to move aside and enabling the family to reach a nearby gas station where a Border Police unit was waiting for them.
Right-wing Member of Knesset Itamar Ben-Gvir said that the harrowing plight of the Lafah family further demonstrated why Israel must impose full sovereignty on eastern Jerusalem and its environs.