When I heard about this past Thursday evening’s fight in downtown Jerusalem, I was disgusted. Jewish children chanting ‘death to arabs’ makes me feel so distanced from my own people.
This past Thursday night’s incident is tragic. However, it is no different than the usual Thursday night teenage scene in Jerusalem.
This is not a racial incident. This is an incident caused by extreme boredom and a young teenage girl walking around the streets in what is probably hand-me-downs from her younger sister. She was harassed by boys who have nothing better to do than hit on girls in an improper way. A girl complained of being harassed, and then a brawl broke out. Then there was the racial tension…..
The racial tension could have been Mizrachi/Ashkenazi.
Racism shouldn’t have made its way into it. Racism is wrong. I know not many people make this point. That is why I am saying it; racism is wrong. They should not have been saying, ‘Death to arabs.’ They should have been more refined and said, ‘Death to this kid.’ That would normally have been the chant.
Last Thursday night, I was walking home and ran into a local neighborhood friend of mine. A Jerusalem youth who always has a smile. This paramedic that showed up to the scene, who helped resuscitate Jamal, was telling me about this mob scene in downtown Jerusalem and how crazy it was. He is a good Israeli youth who found a way to satisfy his late night boredom by joining Hatzalah. He kept himself out of teen year problems, by fixing them. But how many of the youth can work for Magen David Adom or other rescue companies? The ambulance teams need bored youths from downtown, who are getting hurt, so the ambulance medics don’t get bored themselves.
After seeing a kid peeing on the outside wall of my building, as I am writing this, I am not shocked. A fight between youths in downtown Jerusalem? That sounds normal. At least they were occupied for a few moments. I have heard this story time and time again. The youth of Jerusalem need a good fight. They love it.
The young boys need to feel tough. When ‘their girl’ complains about a guy, that is their chance.
Gang culture has always developed because of lack of safe stuff to do and lack of role models. For example, a kid on a cruise will not end up joining a gang while on the ship (I think that makes sense now). I do not call a big brother visiting from the army with his ID card, buying little brother alcohol, a positive role model. I walk down the midrachov, the Ben Yehuda area, and then turn into any side street of Ben Yehuda late at night, and I am scared of the teenagers. It feels dangerous. Teenagers with skateboards are scary.
The children of our city need something positive to do. And yes, at 3am. They all miss their bus home. They are out at 3am, so let’s provide them with something to do.
Blame the city, not the kids.
Blame the city that doesn’t provide their children with any activities in a late night downtown Jerusalem, other than to cause violence.
Blame the local police who get angry when you call them about underage drinking and violence in downtown Jerusalem.
Blame the parents that do not exist in Jerusalem, after 11pm on any Thursday evening, or any night during the summer.
That is why fights break out. That is why kids get hurt. That is why racism exists. Because parents do not exist.
The kids of Jerusalem are bored, and Israeli TV doesn’t help with that. As a club owner, I can tell you they also do not have money. They come into the late night karaoke hangout of Jerusalem and they cannot even buy a Coke. Yes, emotions flare up when mom and dad have you out at 2am without enough money for a Coke.
I see your children in Jerusalem late at night. It is a fairly safe place, but there are many children running around. They have nothing to do. The only form of entertainment that exists for them is entertainment that would have them arrested if they were of age. They can do drugs, if they find it. Some are luckier than others. They can drink alcohol, as the drinking age in Jerusalem is 12. That is the only way I can justify seeing grade school kids drinking on the streets. The number one form of entertainment is a good fight.
A good fight is what keeps these kids going. It is fun to watch. They get worked up. They all become racist all the sudden. They join in their little clicks and then go crazy.
I am saying to discipline your kids and educate your kids. I don’t think that abusing children at home helps.
Is Barkat’s Jerusalem regime going to finally show a little care for the late night scene in downtown Jerusalem? Is Barkat going to help keep the Jerusalem youths occupied late at night, with positive activity, and clean entertainment? Is BiBi going to help remove the new beer tax?
Give the children something positive to do on a Thursday evening in Jerusalem. Here is an idea, have lights put up at the public football fields and let the children play. Have volunteers or parents (if they care about their children) monitoring the play so that it can be safe and decent.
City leagues are great. Have city leagues at 3am. Stop with the whole having to be a part of ‘The Jerusalem City Team.’ Let the kids play in sub-par sporting leagues. Use sports as a way of expression, even for the loser kids. They do that in Spanish Harlem. That is what keeps the kids clean and occupied. We’ll also have Beit Shemesh teams, Modiin teams, Ramallah teams, Gush teams. Jerusalem is the downtown for all your children. Let us not spend this time talking about the poor parenting habits of each city. Your children don’t like their religion or staying in Beit Shemesh and come home puking, because they are bored.
The children are up at night, give them something to do. Use a movie theater for something. They are all out of business, because we all download the movies. I did not say me, nor do I think that Israel should crack down on movie theft. Give the kids a movie option- use Gan Sacher to show Israel’s favorite movie, Charley vaChetzi, without the scenes that make it the Israeli youths’ favorite movie to watch in grade school. Even better, show all the kids that movie where the teacher has the kids wear different colored arm bands to teach them about racial hatred and the Holocaust. I saw that throughout high school. That might not be a good idea, as it is too educational. But that is what Jerusalem’s youth need. They have to learn to live with other cultures, and how we are all people.
Have late night band nights. Whatever keeps them healthy. Even have arts-n-crafts. Jerusalem is a city full of amazing people who don’t have real jobs and artists.
Ban groups of friends. These kids are tough, but only when they are in groups of five or more. No friendship should be allowed.
I am not a politician, but I can figure out the problems.
May I state, none of that which I have written is based on fact. That I am proud of.
ARE THERE GOING TO BE ANY CHANGES? I wouldn’t depend on the municipality.
We must keep the streets of downtown civil for all people, no matter what age or religion. That may seem a little left wing for people who support civil violence among neighbors.
Support the local businesses that are helping keep your city youth occupied. Desocialize your city and make it easier for small positive businesses to thrive [that is a selfish point].
Be a parent. I am a single 35 year old man, so I can say this. There are some parents that have come to our club and checked it out for their children. Respect to you. However, most parents have done nothing but enjoy not seeing their kids at home.
Be a parent. The chilonim/secular people figure it is a safe city. The charedi/ultra-orthodox parents don’t want to know if their kids are talking to somebody of the opposite gender. The arss’ parents are off partying themselves.
Be a parent and make sure your children are acting properly. Don’t assume your child is not the problem. Make sure they have a good and fun environment to hang out, so they can act properly.
Be a parent and teach your children to respect other people and establishments, so the good places will let them in. Some of the children running around in the middle of the night show no respect for anybody. The kids on the bus in the middle of the day, also go downtown at night.
Be a parent and dress your children, even if it means they will not be attractive. Ugly is safer.
Be a parent and make sure your children are hanging out in a safe downtown.
Be a parent and don’t just stand by and watch, like your children did when there was a sickeningly violent brawl happening in our downtown. Or, don’t be a parent and don’t have kids.
You are leaving me in charge of your teenagers. I am fine with that. However, If your child is one of the kids causing problems in downtown, don’t be surprised if other creepy old men end up having to parent your children at 3am. They might even be less fit to parent than you.
I want to wish a refuah shelayma (a full recovery to health) to Jamal Julani. And may we be zoyche to a safe downtown.