This past Thursday night terrorists threw rocks at a car driving through my neighborhood. The victim was a two-year-old girl. It was in my neighborhood and it could have been my child.
This violent attack is not the first but I am hoping the last, in what has been a series of criminal activity over the last year. My neighborhood is called Armon Hanatziv, and it is a vibrant community of new immigrants, sabras, elderly, young families and people of all religious backgrounds in the southern part of Jerusalem. I moved here in 2011 when my landlords in Katamon decided to raise our rent 40% higher for the following year. Now I live in an apartment twice the size, with a balcony, and pay the same amount.
I live on a beautiful street, with a park that has swings and slides making sure to keep my active three-year-old happy, all the time. I have kind neighbors and an incredible young community that we share Shabbat meals with, game nights, pick-up each others’ kids from daycare, organize afternoon play dates and even campaign together.
But as ‘up and coming’ as my neighborhood is, the threat of violence and criminal activity has casted a shadow on our success and livelihood. The police have not done their job to protect and serve us. They are inefficient and lack the resources they need to effectively secure our neighborhood.
I know this because I was attacked. I was attacked in broad daylight at 4:30pm in the afternoon, seven months pregnant with my two-year-old son, outside of my house. The attacker, a young man, ran up from behind me and put his hand over my mouth. I quickly ripped it off and began yelling for help, but there was no one on the tree-lined path to come to our assistance. The fight ended when he threw me and my son down the stairs.
As terrified as I was to walk outside my front door again, I knew that life must go on. I also realized that I wanted to do something about the crime. I was already a part of the Young People’s Forum, an organization set up by the municipality to encourage young families to live and build communities in allocated neighborhoods around Jerusalem; so I decided, together with other concerned residents, to form the security committee.
Our security committee is a dedicated group of Armon Hanatziv residents that believe in the potential of our neighborhood and want to ensure every citizens’ safety. That is why Thursday’s attack not only hurt us as concerned parents, but as concerned residents. Together we have initiated a volunteer citizens watch, women’s self-defense classes for the neighborhood, a special hotline for escorting women at night, help with filing police reports, getting cameras in our neighborhood, and so much more. And yet the attack shows us just how much more needs to be done.
Thursday’s attack comes after months of trying to work together with the police and the municipality to help secure our neighborhood yet to no avail. We have been bounced back and forth with excuses of canceled meetings, misunderstandings and simply unanswered phone calls. That rock shattered more than the glass of that car – it ripped a hole in our reality.
Enough is enough. We are residents of Armon Hanatziv that take pride in our neighborhood. No more criminals. No more terrorists. And no more excuses.
It could have been my child. It has already been me.
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