The media. I don’t know if the problem is their desire to be the first to report on a story no matter if the information is accurate or not, their disinterest in the facts, or the blatant ‘leanings’ within some publications. Isn’t the news meant to be bias-free? Shouldn’t they be neutral and only report the facts?

Last night/ early this morning, some stories came out relating to an incident that has been reported, essentially, as Jews starting trouble with Arabs on Jaffa Street. Now, I am not here to stand by the accused’s actions; what they did was wrong and inexcusable, but it did not come out of the blue. I don’t know why they were there nor why they brought large Israeli flags with them. To me, now this is only speculation, it seemed like perhaps they were waiting for trouble to start in order to incite people to join their cause.

Here is the story as I witnessed it:

Heading into town for the first ‘post’ covid girl’s night, I got on the light rail heading towards City Hall station to meet my cousin, arriving around 9 pm. Getting off, we headed towards the Old City via the Jaffa Gate. As it is currently Ramadan, multiple young Arabs were hanging around the ‘I ‘heart’ JLM’ sign. They were a little rambunctious but were not bothering anyone there that we noticed. We had discussed possibly taking the bus back to avoid the area just out of an abundance of caution but without any actual fear for our safety.

I did notice an increased police presence but just attributed it to the tensions that tend to arise during the month of Ramadan. Once we had finished in the Old City, we decided to walk back up, returning via the route we came. As we neared the ‘I ‘heart’ JLM’ sign once more, I noticed a group of young Arab teens assaulting a Charedi man, a religious sect of Jews.

He broke free from the group, and as he passed the man in front of us, he was told to report the incident to the police further down nearer the Jaffa Gate. As he passed us, the man was clearly still shaken and was attempting to straighten his garb as we asked if he was ok. I commented how I was surprised that this was happening, considering there was an increase in police presence. There were also usually police right across the road from where these people were. We decided to avoid the group and take the stairs rather than the ramp, where these youths were.

Emerging from the stairs, we could see the police were, in fact, at their post across the road. Nearing the lights in order to cross the road, we heard, and later saw, rocks being thrown towards the police car. We hurried across the street to what seemed somewhat safer. During this time, someone had picked up the rock and threw it back, which was once more returned.

At one point, the rock hit the police car. After this happened, the police turned the sirens on. They started to move towards the group of young Arabs, only to be told by another officer not to proceed. After this, some Yeshiva-looking students, another type of religious Jew, ran across the road to disperse the youths as the police were not intervening. Only after this did the Jewish youth at the City Hall train station begin their appalling, and in my opinion, racist, chants of ‘death to Arabs’. Afterward, they began looking for victims to assault.

hese boys were loud and verbal and did need to be handled, but they had three police cars on them within five minutes, one of them immediately. They were attempting to contain a situation that they did not want to get out of hand. As we were leaving, another van of police was headed from Kikar Tzion up to City Hall. I am not saying this was a mistake but just disproportionate. Why would they not disperse a group of teens that were physically throwing rocks towards police and civilians?

It seems as though there may also be some Political Correctness at play. If a news organisation were to mention the former part of the story, people would probably say that they were victim-blaming. Therefore, they only print the latter as people rarely see the Jews or the Israelis as the victim, so who would complain.

I am not here to defend either side; I stand in the middle, stating that all sides were wrong. The young Arabs were wrong in assaulting the man and throwing the rocks, the police were wrong for not dispersing the group, the Jewish youths were wrong in their chants and attitude and later seeking out Arabs to attack, and the media were wrong for not giving a complete account of what happened.

It seems to me that it is all about the tag lines and what will get clicks or sell papers. Nowadays the truth gets lost, and the story that appeals to the most people is the one that gets told.

This Op-Ed/Analysis is the author’s personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of JerusalemOnline.com.