In the latest of a string of attacks, a vehicle in which a Hassidic rebbe was riding in on Wednesday on its way to the Mount of Olives was hit by heavy rocks, as rioting Arabs attacked the vehicle. The Rebbe of Koznitz was on his way to say memorial prayers on the Mount when Arabs in the Wadi Joz area of Jerusalem set upon the vehicle, nearly turning it over.
The incident began when the vehicle got stuck in a traffic jam. Apparently peering into the vehicle, several Arab teenagers began throwing rocks at the vehicle, and the disorder attracted more Arabs. Unable to extricate the vehicle from the traffic jam, the driver had no choice but to remain where he was – and the passengers, consisting of the Rebbe, family members, and close followers, had no choice but to try and avoid getting hit by the rocks.
Frightened for their lives, the passengers traveling with the Rebbe said that he immediately began praying. “He urged us to recite the Shema Yisrael prayer, and to recite the confession” – the prayers said by individuals who are about to die, said one witness. “There was a very somber atmosphere in the vehicle.”
After what seemed to be a very long time, the traffic jam cleared up, and the driver was able to get away from the scene of the rock throwing. Miraculously, no one was hurt, although the vehicle sustained significant damage.
Menahem Lubinsky, Chairman of the International Committee for the Protection of the Mount of Olives, condemned the incident. “This incident proves that the Arabs have no fear attacking Jews. Police must significantly upgrade their patrols in the area and increase security on and around the Mount of Olives, and severely punish those who violate the law. We cannot allow a situation where Jews are attacked day after day on their way to a holy Jewish site. We call on the government to act before a tragedy takes place.”