Israel police quell riots, keep Jerusalem safe for Jewish worshippers

While Israelis celebrated the most solemn day of the Jewish year from Tuesday through Wednesday evenings, Israel Police were busy quelling riots and preventing terror attacks.

Rioting took place in several predominantly Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, including Jabel Mukaber, Isawiya, and Silwan.

Rioters threw petrol bombs and rocks at officers in several locations simultaneously.

On Tuesday evening shortly after the start of Yom Kippur, Arab residents of Silwan threw rocks and Molotov Cocktails at Border Police patrolling the area around the village. Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld described the violence as “dangerous and life-threatening.”

“One resident in Silwan, who threw a petrol bomb at officers at close range, was injured critically and died,” Rosenfeld said in a press release. “Police attempted to treat him for his injury, but local residents removed his body from the scene and he died a short time later.”

Arab media identified the fatality as a 20-year-old resident who recently served a 15-month jail sentence on terror-related charges.

Police dispersed similar riots in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood, without serious injuries to residents or security patrols.

In Issawiya, residents threw firebombs and rocks, burned trash cans and blocked the entrance to the neighborhood. Police used riot-dispersing methods to quell the violence.

While Israeli security forces confronted rioters in these neighborhoods, Israelis flocking to the Western Wall by the thousands prayed safely without incident.

Police deployed more than 3,500 security personnel throughout Jerusalem to safeguard residents throughout the holidays.

As Yom Kippur drew to a close shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday, the IDF lifted the closure on Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

Meanwhile in the Upper Galilee, unknown assailants opened fire on three houses belonging to the same family in the Druze village of Beit Jann. Police are investigating the incident, along with another shooting attempt at a Bedouin village southeast of Beersheba. One moderately injured resident is recovering at Soroka University Medical Center.

Rosenfeld said the beefed-up security would continue in the nation’s capital through the end of Sukkot. That protection includes thousands of Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem to take part in the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s (ICEJ) annual Feast of Tabernacles’ celebration.

According to ICEJ senior spokesman David Parsons, dozens of pro-Israel parliamentarians and government officials representing more than 20 countries are among this year’s participants, along with the largest Chinese and Hispanic groups ever to attend.

“Over coming days, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem will welcome over 5,000 Christian pilgrims from some 90 nations for its 37th annual celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, which begins on Sunday evening, 16 October, at the Ein Gedi oasis and then moves up to Jerusalem’s Pais Arena for the remainder of the week of Sukkot,” the ICEJ said in a press release.

As in past years, several senior Israeli officials are scheduled to address what has become Israel’s largest annual tourist event, which injects an estimated $16 million into the Israeli economy, Parsons noted in the release.

The ICEJ’s Feast of Tabernacles began in support of Israel in October 1980, when all national embassies that remained in Jerusalem, with the exception of Costa Rica and El Salvador, left under threat of an Arab oil boycott. In 2006, the two remaining Central American embassies also relocated to Tel Aviv.

This article originally appeared on CBN News, October 13, 2016, and reposted with permission.

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Tzippe Barrow
Tzippe Barrow is the CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem. She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) nearly two decades ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.