by Lisa Goldman
As Haaretz reports, hundreds of Beitar hooligans swarmed into the mall following a game at the nearby Teddy Stadium. They “hurl[ed] racial abuse at Arab workers and customers and chanting anti-Arab slogans, and filled the food hall on the second floor.” Then they mobbed three Arab women eating with their children in the food hall, yelling epithets and spitting on them. Some Arab men employed as cleaners came to the women’s rescue; they had only their broomsticks as weapons, but succeeded in chasing the hooligans away – albeit temporarily. But then…
Gideon Avrahami, the director of the mall, called the riot “…disgraceful, shocking, racist incident” and apologized in person to the Arab workers. Avi Biton, the mall’s security director, promised to increase security measures when the next Beitar game was played at the nearby stadium.
Meanwhile, amongst the Israeli media only Haaretz newspaper published a report about this incident – even though it occurred five days ago. One would think that a major race riot in Jerusalem’s largest shopping mall, patronized by Jews and Arabs alike, would garner some significant local media attention. But no.
More shocking and insidious is the fact that, even though the riot was recorded by the Malha shopping centre’s CCTV cameras, no-one has been arrested. Why not? Well, said the police, because no-one filed a complaint.
Okay, let’s try a little thought experiment here. Imagine that a few hundred Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel rioted at the upscale Ramat Aviv mall in northern Tel Aviv. Imagine that they were fans of the Arab soccer team Bnei Sakhnin, that they waved team jerseys and scarves as they chanted “death to Jews” in Arabic and cursed and spat at some nice middle class Jewish women sipping cappuccinos with their children and sharing pains au chocolat at the Arcaffe. Imagine that they ran around the mall, asking for knives to attack the cleaning staff that was trying to protect the women from being attacked. And that they slammed some of those cleaners into plate-glass shop windows.
Imagine that all of this was was recorded on the Ramat Aviv shopping centre’s CCTV cameras.
And then imagine the police announcing to the media that they had not made any arrests because no-one had filed a complaint.