By Chanita Teitz
I met with Arieh King, Jerusalem City Council member, chairman of the United Jerusalem Party and the Environmental Protection Committee, and deputy chairman of the Emergency and Security Committee. He has been speaking in many cities over the past two weeks and was flying back to Israel on Sunday night, so we grabbed a few minutes to talk in my office on Sunday morning. The purpose of his visit to the U.S. and Canada was to “wake up the Jews in the Diaspora to what is really going on in Yerushalayim.” According to Mr. King, “It is much worse than what we read in the media.”
Quietly, the Israeli government has turned Yerushalayim into a “virtually Judenrein city” by forbidding Israeli police and other municipal workers from having any jurisdiction or authority in eight Arab neighborhoods in Yerushalayim. There are signs at the entrance to these neighborhoods saying “No Israelis allowed,” but in reality Israeli Arabs are permitted to enter, effectively discriminating only against Jews.
There is no Israeli police presence, no Israeli sanitation workers, and even no phone service from the Israeli phone company, Bezeq, in these neighborhoods. These areas get their services from the PA. And it also means that there are Arab policemen with weapons walking the streets of Jerusalem.
Basically, according to King, the Israeli government is “giving away parts of East Jerusalem just as Sharon gave away Gaza.” The only difference is that it was no secret that Sharon was evacuating Gaza, but Netanyahu is doing this quietly; there is no outrage, because people don’t know what is really happening.
Just recently, the PA launched a drone over Gaza. Israel knew about it but did nothing. As long as they didn’t sense a physical threat, the Israeli government allowed it and didn’t shoot it down.
There is daily Palestinian activity in Jerusalem and the government is not stopping it. Unless someone is hurt or killed, the Israeli police force is not authorized to stop the threats. In fact, in one month alone there were 690 attacks in Jerusalem against Jews. We only heard about the most deadly ones.
King told me of two incidents, one in Pisgat Ze’ev and one in his neighborhood, Maalei Zeitim, Ras-Al-Amud, on Har HaZeitim.
Arabs from the town of Anata, opposite Pisgat Ze’ev, were shooting into the houses there. Israeli police could not do anything to stop the shooting. Even as the shooting continued directly towards the police, they did not have the authority to go into the “Arab town” to stop the attack.
In Maalei Zeitim, Arabs were throwing rocks at King’s apartment and one of his windows was smashed. The next morning his wife noticed bullet shells on their porch. For two-and-a-half months the police didn’t come to investigate.
We all know that lack of adequate housing is a major problem in Yerushalayim. While Arabs are allowed to build in their neighborhoods, Jewish building is restricted. In one mixed neighborhood, Arabs received their building permits, built their apartments, and moved in, while Jewish families are still waiting for their permits to begin building. Mr. King said he just wants the government to “give the same rights to the Jews as they give to the Arabs.”
Because the Arabs are allowed to build in their neighborhoods, there is a surplus of Arab apartments, which brings the prices down. In Jewish neighborhoods with restricted building, the shortages cause the prices to go up. Arabs are moving into Jerusalem because the price of apartments in their neighborhoods is cheap. Today the Arab population in Yerushalayim is 37.5%. And there is no more demolition of Arab houses allowed in East Jerusalem neighborhoods without permission from the prime minister’s office. In other words, the mayor of Jerusalem has no authority to demolish Arab houses, even those built illegally.
Since the withdrawal from Gaza, terrorist attacks have escalated all over Israel, and over the past four or five years there has been a gradual change in the government. According to King, part of the reason for what he calls “the worst anti-Semitic government” is the fact that the political left sees a shift in Israeli society to the right. Religious population is growing and the leftists are afraid of a religious takeover in government. “The left are doing things we never saw before, including betraying the Israeli people.” The left is trying to create a new reality before the religious take over. They are dividing Yerushalayim again, laying the groundwork for an inevitable two-state solution.
His final message was for all of us to wake up and speak up before it is too late. Israel—and Yerushalayim—belongs to us; a two-state solution, giving away our land, and escalating terror will have an effect on all of us, even those of us living chutz la’aretz. Definitely not the Israel I remember, and there’s definitely much food for thought.
News From BYQ
Bais Yaakov of Queens annual mother–daughter event. This past Sunday, Bais Yaakov of Queens was buzzing with excitement as the annual first-grade mother–daughter event was packed with happy children and adults. Some most fortunate girls brought aunts, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers to accompany them as well. As guests entered and noted the beautiful decorations, they were welcomed by volunteer moms, many of whom were from West Hempstead, testifying that Bais Yaakov’s excellent reputation has spread well beyond the local Queens community.
At the entrance to the cafeteria, there was a station of tables filled with handmade cards the children designed in school for their mothers. The meaningful messages filled with love and admiration for their moms were delightful. The children’s articulate expressions are a testimony to academic excellence and creative expression, both of which are integral in the general-studies curriculum.
At long tables in the gym, children and adults were invited to decorate cards with glitzy Chanukah stickers and colorful markers. They were encouraged to show HEART and write messages of gratitude to soldiers in Eretz Yisrael. The Heart 2 Heart Art, Mrs. Finkey Levine’s idea, correlates to the HEART program Bais Yaakov of Queens has embedded into a schoolwide initiative. HEART is an acronym for honesty, empathy, attitude, respect, and trust, behavior expectations that are woven throughout the day, in lessons that are modeled, taught, observed, and celebrated.
Mrs. Bergman, who welcomed everyone, opened the program with a beautiful d’var Torah weaving the parashah, chinuch, mesorah, and caring for each other into a message that touched everyone’s hearts. Mrs. Jurkowitz told a wonderful story about hakaras ha’tov, Hashem’s role in his care of all of us, and the need to recognize how much mothers do in caring for their children. Mrs. Reisbaum, who attended as a bubby, as well as part of the hanhallah, and some of the first-grade teachers shared in the morning’s fun.
Mrs. Rena Greenberg had the girls and their guests singing and dancing, b’lev u’bsimcha. It was great to watch everyone having a grand time together. There was a short video that captured the girls during the day at BYQ, filled with smiling, happy students and teachers.
All of this was followed by dessert, a truly delicious way to celebrate spending time together and making sweet memories.
On Friday evening, December 19, at 7:30 p.m., the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills will hold its annual Chanukah oneg featuring a talk by Rabbi Sholom Steinig on the topic “Season’s Greetings for Chanukah.” Men and women are invited. Coffee and cake will be served.
Sunday, December 21, Chazaq and Beth Gavriel present a lecture in Russian by renowned lecturer R’ Michael Gitik at 2:30 p.m. Men and women are welcome; free admission. Beth Gavriel Center 66-35 108th Street, Forest Hills NY, 11375. For more information, call 718-285-9132 or e-mail Info@Chazaq.org.
Attention all physicians, physician assistants, and nurses. You are invited to a free question-and-answer session by Rabbi Eliezer Gewirtzman of the Chayim Aruchim organization regarding end-of-life issues and palliative care, including DNR/DNI, terminal extubation, Fentanyl drips, etc., on motzaei Shabbos, December 27, 8:30–9:30 p.m. at Khal Adas Yereim in Queens. To RSVP, for more information, or to pre-submit your questions, e-mail halachaPA@gmail.com.
The seventh annual Asarah B’Teves community-wide program will take place on Wednesday evening, December 31 at 7:45 p.m. The guest speaker is Rabbi Daniel Glatstein, rav of K’hal Toras Emes. Rabbi Glatstein is a well-known and popular maggid shiur in several shuls in KGH and for Torah Anytime. Rabbi Glatstein will be representing the third generation of Holocaust survivors. Introductory remarks will be delivered by Rabbi Hayim Schwartz, executive vice president of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim. Rabbi Schwartz is also involved in community activities. Mara d’asra of YIKGH, Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, will give words of welcome. The Young Israel of KGH, located on 150th Street and 70th Road, is hosting the event. Parking is available in the YCQ parking lot. A light buffet will be served. Free admission.
To the Bilitsky family on the petirah of Rabbi Meir Bilitsky. HaMakom yenachem eschem b’soch sh’ar aveilei Tzion v’Yerushalayim.
Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Chanita Teitz