An elderly Jewish woman was assaulted while visiting the Temple Mount Tuesday morning – and police did nothing to protect her or arrest her attacker.
Brenda Rubin, a resident of Jerusalem who made aliyah from the US seven months ago, was visiting the Temple Mount for the first time when the violent attack occurred.
Despite being Judaism's holiest site, Jews (and other non-Muslims) are forbidden from carrying out any forms of worship of prayer on the Temple Mount, due to pressure and threats of violence by Muslim groups. The Mount is the site of the ruins of the two Jewish Temples, and where ancient Jewish tradition says the third one will be rebuilt.
The Waqf Islamic trust, which runs the Al Aqsa Mosque complex built atop the ruins of the Temples, has full control over the site under an agreement between Israel and Jordan. Jewish visitors are closely monitored by Waqf guards and Israeli police throughout their limited visitation hours, with those suspected of praying often being arrested and expelled.
At the same time, Islamist groups have in recent years escalated a campaign of harassment, attempting in vain to stem the growing numbers of Jews ascending the holy site in spite of the harsh restrictions.
That harassment often turns to violence, as Brenda Rubin found out.
In a video uploaded to the YouTube account of Temple Mount activist Michael Fua, she recounted how one of the masked Muslim women who regularly intimidate Jewish visitors punched her hard in the ribs, while police did nothing in response.
In footage taken just moments after the vicious attack, Rubin and another activist complain to police about the incident. But instead of arresting the suspect or dispersing the Muslim mob surrounding the small Jewish group, the police officer brushes them off and tells them to "lodge a complaint" afterwards.
Speaking after her visit, Rubin explained why she felt it was important for Jews to defy the harassment and visit the Temple Mount.
"It was my first time on the Mount and it was a very important thing for me," she said.
"This woman in black came in between our lines and gave me a big punch under my rib on my side that I'm still feeling," she continued, describing the unprovoked attack.
"I feel like, we came to Israel, this is our land, we didn't come here to be shivering Jews. It's really painful that somebody could feel they could come and use the name of God to come and hurt us."
Incitement surrounding the Temple Mount has lead to scores of deadly attacks by Muslims against Jews in Jerusalem. However, while several assaults of Jewish and Christian visitors as well as numerous violent clashes with police have been recorded, there have not yet been any deadly attacks on the Mount itself.
But a caption at the end of the video notes this latest incident illustrates how such unchecked violence could easily turn deadly: "This time it was a punch, next time it could be a knife."