Jerusalem Asks Arab Parents to Keep Children Away From Knives

In letter distributed to the parents of 20,000 students in Arab neighborhoods, parents were urged to help children understand 'the finality of death.'

AP

The educational authority in the Jerusalem municipality sent out a letter to the parents of students in state schools in East Jerusalem, asking them to keep their children from obtaining knives and to help them understand "the finality of death," among other things.

"Parents of children of various ages are dealing with a most difficult situation these days and with feelings of great helplessness," opens the letter, which was distributed on Monday and Tuesday to the parents of some 20,000 students in the state schools in the city's Arab neighborhoods.

The letter then tries to provide a number of "important points for dealing with the children these days."

Under the subsection "monitoring the children," the letter urges parents to have their children under supervision at all times, stressing the importance of physical proximity to the children and asking parents to spend more time at home.

The letter continues: "Children have a hard time understanding and interpreting events and messages they are exposed to, and adults have the central role in mediating  these for them, and helping them understand them properly, and not to be drawn in by rumors and distorted information."

"The view of death among children develops relatively slowly, and there is a real difficulty in understanding the finality of death. A dialogue with the children on this matter can prevent hasty decisions by children to harm themselves or others," states the letter.

Parents are called on to pay attention to "out of the ordinary behavior which raises concerns the child may cause harm to themselves or someone else." In such a case, the parents are asked to turn to the school, psychological services or welfare bureau. Parents are also told to prevent their children from access to "dangerous objects such as knives."

Ahmed Manasra, a 13-year-old who allegedly carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood, led to jail after his detention was extended.
Emil Salman

At the same time, a different letter was distributed in the schools in the western, Jewish parts of Jerusalem, which only includes information on the additional budget for security in the schools and calls on the parents to help out in the security of the schools.    

Many of those who committed stabbing attacks in Jerusalem, as well as elsewhere around the country, were young people. The youngest was 13 years old.