Netanyahu, Police Commander Order Immediate Bolstering of Forces in Israeli Capital After Latest Palestinian Stabbing Attack
by Ruthie Blum
In the wake of Monday’s Palestinian stabbing attack in Jerusalem — which left a female Israeli police officer critically wounded and a male colleague in moderate condition — a decision was taken to bolster security immediately, rather than waiting until the upcoming Jewish High Holidays, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
According to the report, the decision was reached by Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy at an emergency meeting after the attack — the seventh since Friday — and following a similar discussion the previous day that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conducted with security officials.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu’s meeting was convened to assess the security situation ahead of the Jewish holidays, beginning with Rosh Hashanah on October 2, through Yom Kippur and Sukkot at the end of the month.
The PMO further stated:
Netanyahu instructed that police forces be increased, especially in the Old City and around the Temple Mount, and directed that determined action be taken against any attempt to violate order there.
Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered that the Knesset Speaker be requested to act to continue to prevent MKs and ministers from going up to the Temple Mount during this sensitive period.
The Prime Minister directed that activity be increased against Palestinian incitement on social networks, including expanded action vis à vis Facebook and other platforms, with the goal of removing inflammatory content. He also instructed that a response team be established to refute disinformation about Israeli policy on the Temple Mount.
Channel 2 said that police intend to station officers at “sensitive” areas, or those with a high potential for terrorist activity. To this end, hundreds of additional police officers are already being dispatched to several locations in the capital, both in the eastern and western parts of the city.
Meanwhile, police have also been preparing an increased presence to secure Monday night’s Maccabiah Race in Jerusalem and its estimated 3,000 participants.
According to the Hebrew news site nrg, the Transportation Ministry has also decided to step up security on buses and trains throughout the city.
In addition, nrg reported, the police raided the east Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan and Shuafat, arrested the two brothers of the terrorist who committed Monday’s stabbing attack at Herod’s Gate of the Old City, and, as an additional security precaution, ordered the closure of Arab shops and access to pedestrians along the main street of east Jerusalem. This move sparked condemnation from the city’s Arab merchants, who accused the police of engaging in collective punishment and hindering their livelihood in the process.
Meanwhile, nrg said, the attempt to enhance the police presence in Jerusalem has proven problematic, due to a severe shortage of manpower. According to the news outlet, despite the very large budget allocated for the addition of 1,200 police officers, the force has only managed to recruit 200 over the past few months. As a result, the only way that the current directive for increased security can be implemented is through the enlistment of officers from other districts.