Deputy Mayor Pindrus Criticizes Police Handling of Unrest

YERUSHALAYIM -

Rabbi Yitzchak Pindrus, deputy mayor of Yerushalayim for United Torah Judaism, puts much of the blame for the current violence on the police for failing to heed early signs of disorder in the city.

In a phone interview with Hamodia Thursday night, Rabbi Pindrus recounted how he had warned the authorities that the agitators at Har HaBayis had to be removed lest it lead to more serious problems.

“These women are hired, they are paid,” to abuse Jewish visitors to the site, “cursing and spitting at them as they pass,” he said.

“For political reasons, the police did not get rid of them, only moved them to another location, on Rechov Hashalshelet in the Arab shuk. When they continued their behavior, this time abusing larger numbers of Jewish passers-by on the street, they were shunted to another place in the Old City.

“I told the police that even Prime Minister Netanyahu said they should be removed from the Old City altogether, but for legal reasons, that wasn’t possible. So I asked them to send them back to Har HaBayis. Why should they harass hundreds of people in the shuk when they might only bother a few dozen in their original spot?”

But, he said, the police wouldn’t hear of it, fearing renewed incitement in the most sensitive place.

When asked if residents of the capital are generally fearful, though, he said that was not the case, despite all the media attention to the violence.

“I was just at the Mamilla Mall a little while ago, and it was packed with people,” he said, saying that they’re not afraid to go out in the street, as during the intifada in the past.

As for going to Kosel, he said that, baruch Hashem, the Jewish Quarter has not been affected by these events, and it is still safe to visit the Kosel from there.

What does he think should be done to restore normalcy?

“What should have been done in the very beginning,” he replied, saying that zero tolerance for minor disturbances effectively discourages the more serious ones.