Two Palestinian children were slightly injured in East Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood on Friday when a prominent right-wing activist, David Be'eri, struck them in a hit-and-run accident. Be'eri, who manages the Elad non-profit behind the contested City of David site in the neighborhood, was pelted with rocks by the children shortly before the incident and said later he drove through the crowd in self-defense.
The accident took place on one of the main streets of Silwan, shortly after Friday Muslim prayers. Ilya Efimovitch, a freelance photojournalist who was at the scene, told Haaretz a few children and teenagers set up a stone-throwing ambush; a lookout would tell his friends whether an approaching vehicle was Palestinian or Israeli. When Be'eri and his young son arrived at the spot around 1 P.M., the children began pelting their car with rocks from close by.
Friends of Be'eri told Haaretz he feared he would be recognized and lynched and also feared for his son's life. They said he recalled later he deliberately decided not to use his personal handgun, tried to escape and inadvertently hit the two children.
The two were taken to a hospital in East Jerusalem with light injuries. One of them, 11-year-old Amran Mansur, was later taken to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, for further checks, but was released later in the day.
"I don't think he deliberately turned the wheel to hit the kids, but I don't think he cared - he just wanted to get through," said Yefimovitz. "He could have escaped the situation by reversing. It's true there was a car behind him but hitting something was better than hitting a child."
Be'eri was questioned by police and released on Friday. He is considered a controversial figure and is seen as one of the main instigators of Jews settling in homes across the Palestinian neighborhood.