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Jewish Couple Nearly Lynched While Soldiers Stood By

by Ezra HaLevi Arutz Sheva October 26, 2006

Arabs nearly lynched two Jews north of Jerusalem on Wednesday, while IDF soldiers at a nearby lookout watched and took no action. A Jewish man was shot and wounded by terrorists near Kiryat Arba.

Yehuda Karpelis and his wife Suzy, the victims of the near-lynching, say soldiers manning a nearby lookout admitted doing nothing beyond reporting the incident on their radio, while a group of Arabs attacked them mercilessly. Arutz-7 asked the IDF for its response and is still awaiting a reply.

Yehuda and Suzy left their home in the Binyamin region town of Beit El at around 3 PM Tuesday. They drove down the main Highway 60 toward the capital, taking the Atarot road that connects to Route 443, the Jerusalem-Modiin highway which is the fastest route to Ben Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv.

As Yehuda approached the Kalandia Crossing, just before a traffic circle with a tall IDF lookout post in the middle, very close to a large checkpoint staffed by dozens of soldiers and police, the couple was attacked.

“We stopped at the circle, behind eight Arab vehicles, and others pulled up behind us,” Karpelis told Arutz-7′s Hebrew newsmagazine. “Three Arabs, about 17-years-old, saw that I was a Jew because of the kippa [yarmulke] on my head. One of them suddenly opened my door, grabbed my arm roughly and yelled in Arabic ‘inzil!’ [Get out! –ed.] He tried to drag me out of the car but I struggled with him. He then began hitting me with a large stone. As I fought him I beeped the horn. We weren’t able to escape because we were blocked in by Arab cars on all sides. One of [the Arabs] grabbed my cell phone and smashed the hands-free microphone installed in the car in the process. Another Arab reached in toward where my wife Suzy was sitting and grabbed her purse from her hands. They also stole my briefcase and my daughter’s backpack from the trunk.”

Chaos erupted at the scene, Karpelis recalled, when finally a middle-aged Arab man interceded on their behalf, yelling at the attackers to cease and grabbing one of them. Yehuda continued:

“The attacker freed himself, ran away a bit and grabbed a large stone which he hurled at my window. G-d saved me a second time when the shatter-proof windows did not give way. They also tried on my wife’s side.

“To my astonishment, the assailant, who was some distance from the vehicle at that point, began to run toward us again like a maniac, trying to kick in the window with his feet like a ninja. It was clear to me that they wanted to kidnap or lynch us. We felt like only G-d was protecting us.

“The attacker tried once again and managed to get his hand through the window, where he grabbed all the papers he could from the door pocket. At that point they decided to run away, with our bags, my wife’s purse, daughter’s knapsack and my cell phone.”

“Soldiers Didn’t Lift a Finger”
When the cars in front of Karpelis finally moved, they pulled up to the guard booth at the checkpoint. “We drove past the crossing,” Yehuda said, “and got to the armored guard booth. It was clear to me that the soldiers at the booth did not hear any of the riot, the beeping or the screams. When they heard the story, they alerted additional forces, and army and Border Police officers quickly arrived at the scene.”

Karpelis said that one of the border policemen was flabbergasted at the fact that the whole incident took place so close to a lookout post with nobody intervening on behalf of the endangered civilians. “He radioed the soldiers manning the lookout up in the pillbox,” Karpelis recounted. “The lookout confirmed that he had seen a number of Arabs fleeing the area with our bags. He asked the person at the lookout if he had seen what happened to us and if so why he didn’t do anything about it. The lookout answered that he reported what was occurring on his radio, but received no response. The border policeman asked why the lookout did not at least throw a shock grenade [which produces a frightening sound, but no shrapnel, and may have frightened away the attackers –ed.] or do something to help. The lookout had no answer.”

Karpelis believes that the men in the lookout simply did not want to complicate their lives with the investigations and legal problems that result from making a tough decision to intervene in such a crisis. “They saw everything that was happening to us and didn’t lift a finger.”

Yehuda and Suzy filed a complaint with Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov police department, which is in charge of the Kalandia Crossing. The local police confirmed to Arutz-7 that such a complaint was filed.

Karpelis stressed that the police officers who debriefed them and took their complaint were polite and courteous. He said that regional police commander Yaakov Cohen, joined them and said he realized the serious nature of the incident, promising it would be fully investigated.

“My goal in publicizing the incident,” Karpelis says, “is to prevent a situation where a soldier who sees a Jew in trouble will refrain from shooting because he is afraid that afterwards he will be investigated and face disciplinary action. I also wanted to publicize the fact that we were saved by G-d.”

“Trying to Make us Give Up the Road”
The IDF has tried to close the road to Jews in the past, but the move was deemed illegal. “The IDF is not interested in Jews using the road because they say it is extra work for them to secure it,” explains Daniella Chaouat of Beit El, who frequently uses the route. “This is illegal. The only entity that can change the status of such a road, built by the State of Israel and essential for the freedom of movement of Israelis living in the region, is the Knesset.”

The road was closed for a long while as construction on the new sophisticated crossing was completed and the partition wall built in the region. Once construction was over, Jews began to use the road regularly again.

Chaouat fears that certain elements in the police and security establishment are seeking to use other means to deter Jews from using the road. “I am not surprised by the report that the Karpelis family was not rescued from the attempted lynch,” she says. “They are trying to make it so we ourselves give up this road. This is illegal and it is not going to happen.”

Defense Minister Amir Peretz can be faxed at 02-649-6545, or by dialing your international access code + 972-2649-6545.

In another incident, Palestinian terrorists attacked a Jewish driver near Kiryat Arba on Wednesday afternoon from point-blank range. The driver managed to smack the gun away, but suffered bullet wounds to his hand and arm.

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