“Responsible education as a response to violence”
JERUSALEM – On August 19, seven teenagers were arrested by Israeli police after assaulting young Palestinians three days earlier in Jerusalem. It was a case of racist lynching, added to the recent violent events this week in Bethphage, escalating fears of the resurgence of violence. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem calls us to condemn all violence and focus on youth education for tolerance.
On August 16 around midnight in Ben Yehuda, Jerusalem’s lively neighborhood, a dozen Israelis assaulted three young Palestinians. One of them, Jamal Junali was in a coma and transferred to the Hadassah Hospital where he was revived.
The culprits were quickly identified with the help of surveillance cameras and interviews with witnesses. They will probably be tried and the case would have ended there. One of the young offenders, age 17, after acknowledging his actions, said he had no regrets. Violence as perpetrated by this young man has caused a stir in Israel. The press and particularly the Israeli media widely echoed this case, drawing much attention to it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the act as “contrary to our values” while the State President Shimon Peres admitted his “shame” and “disgust”. Yesterday, The Jerusalem Post reported the visit of the President of the Knesset, Reuven Rivlin to the young Jamal Junali saying: “It is hard to see you lying in the hospital because of an unimaginable, outrageous act …..” I came here in the name of the State of Israel, in order to apologize and express anger over what happened.” Jamal’s mother said to the press, “ I pity their mothers. Who could be proud of a child who does a thing like this?”
Everyone seems to fear the recent rise in violence as the region has been shaken by the fratricidal war in Syria that doesn’t seem to end, and the Iranian threat is burdensome.
Condemn violence and educate our young people
Bishop Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem is also concerned about the violence. On August 22, he accompanied Patriarch Fouad Twal to Bethphage to support the people of this Christian neighborhood in Jerusalem who were stone-throwing victims earlier this week. “The violence of recent days make us wonder about the education that young people have received” confided the Bishop. “Everyone has a share of responsibility in their education,” he said. “Parents should educate their children to discover the difference with tolerance and mutual respect.” Bishop Shomali concluded: “The Peace of tomorrow will be measured with the energy that each of us will give today in the education of our children.”
Amélie de La Hougue