Amid reports of increasingly frequent attacks on Palestinians by Jews in Jerusalem, the far-right Lehava organization has called on its supporters to gather near the Damascus Gate on Thursday to "protect Jewish honor."
In the Whatsapp group for Lehava's event it was said that “we must break their faces, bury them alive,” and questions were raised about how to obtain tear gas and even grenades.
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Every evening this week, dozens of young Jews walked around Jerusalem's city center, chanting "Death to Arabs" and attacking passersby with stones and tear gas. On Monday, the police arrested six suspects, all of whom were subsequently released.
A Jewish resident of the city center was attacked Tuesday while trying to protect a young Palestinian. "I saw five or so people standing around an Arab guy, all in their 30’s approximately, and suddenly they jumped on him, so I jumped in the middle. They kicked me, then a guy with a white kippah grabbed me and started to scream at me that “they” were raping our sisters and that I was a traitor." The man sustained minor injuries and scratches in the scuffle.
The attacks on Arabs in Jerusalem came on the heels of a series of TikTok videos showing young Palestinians attacking Jewish passersby. In one incident, a Jewish passenger was attacked on the light rail, in another, stones were thrown at a vehicle, and in yet another incident, a Palestinian poured coffee on a Jew who walked through the Old City’s Damascus Gate. Police arrested some of the attackers featured in the films, as well as others who filmed and shared the videos.
Over the past week, the plaza has been a site for multiple clashes between Palestinians and police over an Israeli decision to put up barriers preventing people from sitting in the Damascus Gate plaza.
The gate's plaza is a popular public area during the month of Ramadan, which started last week, with tens of thousands of people passing through or sitting there every evening.