We, the Jews living in Zion, also know how to tell false tales, to incite by distorted and untrue publicity. Here is another case of harassing the Armenians, which the Jews' fake news turns into a discourse of incitement, precisely on the holiday on which we celebrate receiving the Torah.

How do you know when we're dealing with fake news? Generally, it's a gut feeling, and then you have to prove it. Responsible journalism tries, at least, to check what the other side is saying, but in our country (and it must be said: in a small community, which is pathetic in its disregard of the warning, "Guard your tongue from evil, your lips from deceitful speech" Psalm 34:14), there are those who think that it is fine to publish incitement – simply because  it sells.

So, here is the story:

on some Internet channels, the headlines announce, "Lynch on Shavuot Eve: 2 young Jews were cruelly attacked by 60 students of the Armenian church in Israel's capital." (Liam Golan, Hadashot 4, 18.6.2019) and

Report: 60 Armenian-Church Students Attempted Lynching of 2 Jews on Eve of Shavuot. (David Israel - Jewish Express Newsletter, June 18, 2019)

Fake news in Israel's capital

ארמנים אנגלית.jpeg

 

Then the content of the articles goes into details about a letter of complaint sent to the police. The “reporters” tell us about the complaint, but regarding the incident itself, they only have quotes from the letter written by the lawyer for the Jews, who just happens to be the lawyer for the organization, Honenu )an Israeli organization that provides legal aid to Jewish terror suspects ).

 

The text of the letter becomes the leading witness for the readers:

"60 Armenian church-students attempted lynching of 2 Jews." Well, that’s just like the miracle of the bread and the fish! There are only 35 students at the most in the Armenian seminary, so how did we count 60?

"They attacked two young Jews, cruelly”, yet I have no picture of an injured Jew only of an !Armenian in the hospital!

And the following details in the “report” of Liam Golan:

“In the letter sent to the police requesting that the investigation be thorough, Bleicher, Adv. from Honenu explains how 60 Armenian seminary students attacked two young Jews as they were walking through the Old City of Jerusalem on the eve of the Shavuot holiday, resulting in their needing medical treatment. From the remarks, it appears that the two young Jews were walking along the street of the Armenian Patriarchate in the Old City of Jerusalem where they were badly beaten by 60 Armenian seminary students to the point of requiring medical treatment. In his letter, Bleicher, Adv. described the brutal attack: "While my clients were walking on the sidewalk, a group of Armenians approached them and suddenly began to attack them with 'brutal blows.' My clients were punched in the face and kicked all over their bodies while they were strewn on the ground."

Bleicher, Adv. proceeds and describes one of the young people, "thrown in the air on his back and when he lay helplessly on the ground, many Armenians stood and hit him. The cruel attack continued for several minutes, until the priests who led the students began to tell them to stop the lynching. My clients escaped injured and bleeding, to the nearby police station in Kishle. My clients required medical treatment and one of them was even evacuated by ambulance to Shaarei Zedek Hospital."

According to him, the young people submitted a complaint at the Merchav David Station, but have yet to receive any information regarding the arrest of suspects or the developments of the investigation. "It is superfluous to note that the event took place in an area covered by police cameras, which certainly makes a fast arrest of the perpetrators and getting evidence against them possible," said Bleicher. At the end of the letter, Bleicher, Adv. asked the police commander for the area "to arrest and investigate anyone seen attacking or who has information about who attacked my clients," and he asked to be updated on the developments of the investigation".

The Israel Police responded: "The affliction of violence is socially unacceptable, and accordingly the Israel Police considers violence of any kind in a serious manner. Thus, immediately upon receiving the complaint, the police opened an investigation in order to arrive at the truth. By the nature of such matters, we do not provide details about investigations being conducted; however, we will state that the Israel Police investigated people involved, collected data, and is continuing to investigate the file thoroughly and to conduct all investigative actions required for the purpose of appropriately applying the law for those involved.”

At the conclusion of the article, it says that:

"the police objects to violence" because it is "an unacceptable social affliction" and will demand "appropriately applying the law for those involved."

Really? the police objects to violence? What a surprise! Really a novel concept! Is there an attempt here to divert attention away from the facts of what actually happened in the field? The answer is: "yes!"

Placing this phrasing, "the police's position," at the end of the article is, in a world of fake news, like a confirmation that:

     1.There was violence in which innocent Jews were the victims.

     2..There was a brutal attack, with no context,

       and a real lynching, initiated and perpetrated by the Armenian students.

Were I not enraged with anger, I would burst out in laughter: innocent Jewish passersby attacked by Armenians??? Have we forgotten that since 1967 Jews have been attacking the Armenians in the streets of the Armenian quarter and outside of it? For, after all, the crime of the Armenians is that their Quarter is the passageway and a shortcut for Jews on their way to the Jewish Quarter and to the Western Wall. Jews feel safer going through the Armenian Quarter than the rowdy souk. Therefore, consistently, in recent years, the favorite sport of .these skullcap (yarmulke) wearers is on the rise – short distance spitting.

If we make a list of some of the incidents of spitting reported to the police, how many will there be? How many of the complaints registered by the Armenians with the police ended up in a conviction? How many false pleas were presented to judges in the attempt to justify those spitting and terrorizing the Armenians? An amazing claim, for example: "It would be a violation of my freedom of religion, if I were not able to spit at a person wearing a cross." Thus claimed an ultra-Orthodox Jew tried for spitting in the face of a priest. Thank God, the .judge did not accept this claim, but we are definitely heading there.

Here are the statistics: For every spitting reported to the police, there are dozens of spitting incidents which are not reported. How do I know? Because someone who considers human dignity as a value, takes an interest, listens, and expresses remorse. Unfortunately, I have been present during such incidents, and had I not seen such a thing twice in front of my own shocked eyes – a shooting of spitting, maybe I would doubt it. The time when I totally internalized the experience was when they spit at me. What, am I a Christian? Absolutely not. But after one of my projects on Mt. Zion, as I was walking down through the park along the Wall, two young religious Jews (who had seen me in interreligious activity with men of the cloak) spat at me. Did I register a complaint with the police? No! Why? Because like the hundreds of incidents of spitting at Christians – it's a lost cause. Go prove it. Should I take DNA samples of the spit on my blouse?! On that same occasion, I understood that the fate of Jews as potential victims for being spat on, will be no different than that of the Christians, if, .Heaven forbid, they should be identified as "peace seekers" and not warmongers

Let's go back to the “journalist” articles. How simple it would have been if the writer, the pursuant of incitement would have called the Armenians and asked for their version: were they actually injured and hospitalized and did they submit a complaint to the police? So, here we have a clarification of some preliminary details: a group of seminary students were on their way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for their weekly prayer. While walking on the street of the Armenian Patriarchate, some Jews wearing skullcaps and decorated with the strings of their prayer shawls approached them and did what they know how to do best – spit at the Armenians. How did this provocation develop on the spot? I don't know. I don't rule out the option that the seminar students did what I would do – decide to take over and grab those spitting, and drag them to the police. If only the police will investigate and publicize, but meanwhile, the best defense is an offense and creating fake news.

The purpose: to release the Jewish attackers, and to create an atmosphere of persecution by blaming 60 Armenian seminar students (when as noted, there is no such number of Armenian students in the Holy Land) for lynching and other damages. The information was delivered to journalists (I received the announcement from a responsible journalist who wanted to clarify details), in the hope that someone would pick up the challenge, publicize the fake news and the hell with ethics and Jewish values. Instead of a Redeemer (Isaiah 59 20) – an inciter has come to Zion
In the capital of Israel, Christians are subject to insults and humiliation, but in the eyes of a certain community within our country, this is acceptable. Perhaps because all of the Jewish blood spilt over generations, becomes now our scars, and generates hate? If this is the diagnosis, and if we are seeking revenge, then we will humiliate, spit, and perpetrate blood libels about Christian passersby, even when they are in no way connected to the matter and are innocently walking home from their seminary or to their place of prayer. The aforementioned, pathetic journalists, of course, did not report on the attack on the Christians, or the hospitalization of one of them following this incident. After all, that would ruin the fake news

 

Last year, during the Armenian march in memory of the genocide of the Armenian people (their Holocaust which they experienced over a hundred years ago), girls from the Jewish national religious sector spat and yelled against them during the procession. Young Armenians reacted, took hold of them and brought them to the police. Again, a complaint was registered – against one of the young Armenians! I felt so bad about this: an amazing, brave guy from a lovely Armenian family, who chose to serve in the IDF. His mother told me that she was angry with him and reprimanded him: "You should have behaved like a minority and fill your mouth with water! You can't express your pain, because you will pay for it!" I cried when she told me this. In her words, I heard history repeating itself. I wonder how those same religious Jewish girls would have reacted if the memory of the Jewish Holocaust would be offended.

In this case, they were placed under arrest. I offered to meet with them and speak to their hearts. I would tell them about the painful history of the Armenian people which lost one-third of its population – who went like sheep to the slaughterhouse. I didn't get to do this, and I believe that they refused a deal of submitting a letter of apology. But don't hold me to my words – because I didn't write down the involvement of the situation, and in any case there is "no protocol of "spitting and reactions.

Fortunately, a television reporter, Yigal Mosko, did a story on the issue, many years ago, with the brilliant title: "A Spit Away." Thus, there is at least partial documentation of the phenomenon and of those humiliated who don't turn to the police. The head of the Franciscan order was asked in an interview, "What do you tell your monks to do when they are spit at?" He responded, "I tell them to take emotional distance." So that's it, that not everybody takes emotional distance when someone spits at him. And I am not sure that the principle of moderation will hold up for me if reality put me to the test the next time someone .spits at me or at someone next to me.

I ask the forgiveness of the Armenians who were injured, whether from spitting or from the skirmish. I ask the forgivenessof all those hurt by the spitting, and I thank all of them, who wear the cloak trying to comfort me ‘that this is not the way of Judaism, but rather of fanatics’. The truth is in the numbers and the numbers are threatening: what was in the margins is moving towards the center. Now with the tactics of fake news and incitement, this will no longer be deviant, but the command. (Look at the Q&A website of Rabbi Aviner and see the question asked naturally if you “must spit when you see a priest”. The rabbi's response is that “there is no such ruling”. Thank God, but unfortunately, he doesn't forbid it or rule it out.)

“Likeable is the man created in the image” (Mishna, Avot, 3:14). Indeed? Not so for a certain group of people wearing skullcaps and prayer shawls. In the age of fake news, the moral, Jewish call to "hold your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from uttering guile," has been forgotten

Yet, there is another Jewish society, civilized and calling for mutually respectful shared society. Where does this come from? From the Jewish statement:

Likeable is the person, created in the image (of God!).

Sometime in the coming month, I am organizing a visit of Jewish people, and Jewish neighbors from the old city, to the Armenian students and seminar director, who were victims of this event. If you are interested in joining- please send an email to yiscasite@gmail.com.

Yisca Harani