Israeli Residents of East Jerusalem Against Police Closures

There’s one group of Israelis who are adamantly against closing off Arab neighborhoods with roadblocks and checkpoints. No, they aren’t leftists. In fact, they are probably further to the right than most.

We’re referring to the Jews who live in various neighborhoods in the Arab areas of East Jerusalem. They feel that the closures are sending the message that Jerusalem is not united, but is split into two separate cities: East and West. It defeats their whole purpose of being there — to demonstrate that Jerusalem is one united city.  Yishai Fleisher, a resident of Maaleh Zeitim near Raas El Amud explains, “we’re here to fight for the unity of Jerusalem which is our highest value.  Jerusalem must not be treated as a divided city. But if they impose a closure here, it means the city is divided”.

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Fifty Jewish families live in new buildings in the Nof Tzion neighborhood located in the heart of Jabel Mukaber. The road to the neighborhood is secured by police and army who are also stationed across the area. Several of the exits to Jabel Mukaber are closed, while others have checkpoints.

Nof Tzion neighborhood

The Jewish residents of East Jerusalem aren’t surprised by the recent violence, or the young age of the assailants. One resident explains, “if a 20 second ad can sell a soft drink, just think what years of incitement does to a child”. They aren’t taking any extra security measures. They claim that they live under these same circumstances on a daily basis, so they’re already well prepared.

At the moment tensions are high but it is quiet. The residents are used to hearing nightly calls from the mosque loudspeakers relating to Jews, Israel and Netanyahu — in not very positive terms, to say the least. They also get their share of molotov cocktails thrown at them. But they’re determined to stay put.

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