Residents of Yerushalayim Neighborhood Live in Fear of Arab Violence

YERUSHALAYIM -

The two-year-old girl who was hospitalized after being hit by a rock last week in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Yerushalayim was treated for moderate injuries and has been sent home.

However, residents of the neighborhood have told The Jerusalem Post that the incident was by no means isolated, and that they live in a climate of fear, suffering from violence and harassment at the hands of Arab youths from the nearby villages of Jebl Mukaber and Sur Bahir.

Although designated as an “up-and-coming neighborhood for young people” by Mayor Nir Barkat, public safety has been a persistent problem, and residents complain that the police presence is inadequate.

“More and more young guys have moved into these neighborhoods over the years, and they come here like they own the place,” said longtime resident Gil Schecter. “Their parents are peaceful and busy working all day, but they do nothing to stop these kids.”

“They don’t just throw rocks at cars and people’s homes — they assault people, steal cellphones from kids and sit in our park designated for the children and use swings meant for little kids and then refuse to leave,” he said.

Molly Livingstone, a mother of two small children — who was assaulted outside her home in March while with her three-year-old son — voiced similar concerns.

“It was extremely hard to read about the attack last week, because the first thing any parent thinks is it could have been my child,” she said.

Livingstone became the head of the local security committee shortly after the assault against her, during which she and her son were thrown down a flight of stairs and her phone was stolen.

She called for a stronger police presence. “I believe the police are not doing their jobs and don’t have the resources they need,” she said Sunday.

“The mayor said Armon Hanatziv is an up-and-coming neighborhood for young families, but women are afraid to walk home from the synagogue at night and parents are afraid to drive with their kids.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Barkat, although he has no authority over police matters, is said to be lobbying for better security for the neighborhood.