“I told my wife that if we could not get out of there in a few seconds, that’s it for us,” said Israel Laffa. “We saw death with our own eyes.”
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
What should have been an uneventful visit to the Western Wall on Thursday morning turned into a nightmare for one Jewish family, after they accidentally drove through a neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem.
The ordeal started when Israel Laffa and his wife, residents of the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Shemesh, decided to celebrate their wedding anniversary, along with their baby daughter, at one of Judaism’s holiest sites.
Laffa told Maariv that he’d followed a route to the Western Wall via the smartphone navigation app Waze, and that he “checked that the drive went through Jewish areas” in Jerusalem.
The drive was uneventful until an Arab teenager noticed the family stuck in a traffic jam in the A-Tor Arab neighborhood, which is about a “three minute” drive away from the Western Wall plaza.
Laffa said that suddenly, more Arab teenagers approached his car and began blocking the road in front of their car. He dialed emergency services.
Before his call was answered, the youth began pelting the vehicles with stones, large rocks, and other projectiles. A photo of the vehicle obtained by Maariv shows that the windshield was shattered by a heavy cinder block.
“These are hate-filled youth, all the way up to their eyeballs,” said Laffa. “I told my wife that if we could not get out of there in a few seconds, that’s it for us. We saw death with our own eyes, and now we’re processing that we got out [alive].”
Even after the windshield shattered, “they did not stop. My wife and I were stressed. Our daughter was hysterical and cried non-stop.”
Laffa’s wife suffered a wound in her side from shattering glass and a rock which smashed the passenger’s side window.
“They even tried to open the doors, but I locked them,” he said, adding that the youth, frustrated that they could not pull the Jewish family out of their vehicle, continued their frenzied attack, kicking the car and throwing objects.
“These kids tried to hurt us, mercilessly.”
While the police never reached the scene, Laffa said that Border Police forces met him at a nearby gas station and transported them to the hospital for treatment.
Maor Tzemach, chair of the Your Jerusalem NGO, told World Israel News that the attack was indicative of an tenuous sense of security for citizens of the Jewish State.
“The reality that Jews can’t move freely throughout all neighborhoods in the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, is an unacceptable reality,” he said.
“I call on the Defense Minister to put the security of the citizens of Jerusalem at the forefront of his priorities and not to allow terrorism to raise its head on the streets of Jerusalem.”
Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben-Gvir said the attack was indicative of a breakdown in law and order in Jerusalem.
“This time it ended in a miracle, but next time it may end in murder, that’s how it is when there is no sovereignty on the ground,” Ben Gvir said in a statement.
“If there is no police enforcement…in the neighborhood near the Western Wall that will provide an immediate response to terror, then the situation in the country is much worse than we realize.”