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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Living in Fear

Ali.SalemAs the Mayor of Nazareth Ali Salem has condemned  fellow Arab politician,  Ayman Odeh for helping to encourage the current spate anti-Jewish terror, I suggest the time is ripe to applaud all those heroic Muslim supporters of Israel prepared to announce their friendship and support.

Meanwhile please know that for the second time in barely 12 months, here in Israel ordinary Jewish residents are experiencing real ‘terror’. The sort of fear that makes you frightened to leave home even if you’ve never experienced any personal hostility.

Many readers may be aware that I emigrated (‘made aliyah) from Manchester, UK to Karmiel, western Galilee in March 2010. But despite having lived here through innumerable smaller and more significant atrocities along with two wars – Operation Pillar of Defence in November 2012 and last year’s Operation Protective Edge, today is the first time that I feel personally frightened enough neither to leave our flat nor to open our locked and barred front door to any unexpected caller. This is the reality of living in fear.

Even Premier Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be feeling the pinch. Why else would he cancel his planned participation in a memorial event for his late colleague, Minister Rehavam Zeevi and instead convene his security cabinet to “take additional decisions in light of the on-going terror.”  Practically, there should be no reason for him not to attend both.

The municipal authorities in Karmiel insist that despite a slew of rock-throwing incidents and attempted tyre burnings on roads near surrounding Arab villages, the city itself has not been attacked.

Below is my edited version of a poor English language translation of an official statement from the town hall:

«An uneasy calm prevails and police personnel have been deployed to show a presence and to prevent ‘nationalistic events’. There have been some incidents but without casualties.

  • Last Monday morning, stones were thrown at a private vehicle traveling near the Arab village of Majd al-Krum. The passengers were not injured but there was minor damage to the car. The Galilee police station (Karmiel) combed the area.


  • Later that same day, police received a complaint about the disposal of five Molotov cocktails at an educational institution  north of the Arab town of Sakhnin. Again, there was some damage but no injuries. Evidence was gathered at the scene and  an investigation began.
  • On Saturday night, stones were thrown at vehicles near the gated community of Shorashim. Two cars, on their way from the main road towards Karmiel, were damaged when stones were thrown by two young men who stood on the side of the road, opposite the bus stop at the entrance. The drivers of the hit vehicles called the police and managed to escape.
  • On Friday a Nateev Express 361 bus was stoned near the village of Majd al-Krum. The vehicle’s windshield shattered but no passengers were injured. The 361 is a popular route between Haifa and Tzfat used by many Karmielis. Nateev Express is  owned by Nazareth Transportation and Tours, a bus company based in Nazareth.
  • At the end of a football match between Beitar Jerusalem and Bnei Sakhnin,  hundreds of  Bnei Sakhnin fans threw stones and fired flares at police. The rioters were dispersed and there were no casualties. Six people were arrested and taken for questioning. Beitar fans were escorted to safety. 


First Lady Rivlin inaugurates Arab Museum of Contemporary Art

Happier times: Nechama Rivlin, wife of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday June 17 2015 opened the Arab Museum of Contemporary Art (AMOCA) in Sakhnin, a place intended to blend Jewish and Arabic works of art.

  • These events preceded a demonstration by dozens of Jews and Arabs at the entrance to the village of Deir al-Assad where protesters held Palestinian flags and called on the IDF to stop the activity in the Palestinian territories. There has also been a mass demonstration in Karmiel in support of the security forces. Dozens of residents waved Israeli flags and banners bearing slogans like "Jewish blood is not abandoned."
  • The authorities have flatly denied reports of a young woman committing violent attacks in and near Karmiel, as no city-centre security cameras picked up evidence of such activity.
  • However, one resident has said: “We know that anything can happen anywhere in the country. I prefer that my children stay at home until the storm passes. Karmiel is surrounded by Arab villages, we no longer feel like we’re in  a Jewish state; but a minority.”
  • But another resident said: "My daughter, 16, has developed many fears and is afraid to leave the house because of the situation in the country and one can understand why. But I sat with her and told her that there was no reason to fear, we live in our country and we must continue as usual, shop as usual and  not hide at home. "
  • On Sunday 11 October, Karmiel Mayor Adi Eldar urged residents not to allow “any extremist cause, any party to damage the good relations in the Beit Hakerem Valley. »

© Natalie Wood (13 October 2015)


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