July 06, 2008
Being blocked - Deputy Consul General front left
Rachel being tossed like a rag doll - D.Consul General with Arab tour guide
Arab book about Hebron - the Attacker
All in a day's work
This morning started off fairly regularly, as Sundays go. A favorite person of mine was coming in to visit.
My friends Prof. Rachel Suissa and her husband Erez Urieli have lived for a number of years in Norway, but are both native Israelis. They initiated an organization there called 'the Center against anti-Semitism, which negates much of they slander spoken and written about Jews and Israel in general, and more specifically about places like Hebron. They produce a high-quality publication four times a year, which is distributed in tens of thousands of copies to influential people in Norway and throughout Scandinavia.
Rachel flew in last week for a short visit and this morning drove into Hebron. We had a meeting with a few people here in our offices and met with others she knows here in the community. I also pointed out to her the presence of Israel-hating anarchists who have chosen Hebron as a location to spout their abhorrence of Jews in Hebron.
At about 11:45 we were on our way to grab a bite at the Gutnick Center, next to Ma'arat HaMachpela. We never made it.
About 30 meters from the Ma'ara I drove past a group of what looked to be diplomats, being guided by an Arab. I pulled over the side, stopped the car and got out. Asking who the people were, I was told 'French diplomats.' I approached the head of the group, pulled out a business card, introduced myself, and asked if perhaps I could speak with them too, as to present 'another side' of the story.
However, they didn't have time. A soldier there told me, in response to a question, that the Arab was allowed to that point, but no further. I went over to the car to take out my camera in order to record the event and later figure out who our distinguished guests were.
As soon as I walked over with the camera a member of the group came over and started waving his hands in the air, trying to block my view to prevent me from photographing. Wherever I went, he went too, and eventually moved his hands from the air to me and to the camera, pushing me, and holding on to my arm and the camera. At one point my glasses went flying, thanks to his active hands.
Rachel, see what was transpiring, came over to try to stop him from assaulting me. For her efforts she received an elbow in the stomach and a big push from the Frenchman.
I called over to the soldier asking him to notify the police because we had been attacked. When he refused, I continued with the group, on their way to Ma'arat HaMachpela, where I called to a border policeman that I had been attacked, and requested that he prevent to offender from leaving. He did just that and called the police. The attacker was taken to Hebron police headquarters where he was questioned and Rachel and I issued a complaint against him.
I don't have names of everyone on the group, except for the French Deputy Consul General in Jerusalem, Alexi LaCour Grandmaison, who was carrying a book in Arabic called "Hebron, the old city."
But that wasn't the end. Whey I arrived at police headquarters in Kiryat Arba to issue the complaint, I walked into an office where I had been instructed to go. As soon as I walked in an officer with a tag on his shirt identifying him as Ya'akov ben Moshe, began ranting and raving, screaming at me, as if I'd just committed murder. He yelled that he would stop Jewish terrorism in Hebron and that he'd 'take care of me.' When I asked him why he was speaking to me in such a way; after all he hadn't heard my side of the story, he yelled, "I'm the boss here and I'll do whatever I want to do.'
After a few minutes of this, including threats against me, he walked out. I followed and asked for his remarks in writing. He started yelling again and screamed at me 'jump…'
Rachel and I finally concluded issuing our complaints, however, because the Frenchman holds a diplomatic passport, probably nothing will be done to him.
However, I find it sad that foreign diplomats tour Hebron with Arabs, read Arab literature about Hebron, and choose to ignore the Jewish community here in the city. Then again, they are French.
So, that's what I did today – all in a day's work.