The child hour
By Ada Ushpiz
Imbued with self-righteous fervor and a hatred of Arabs and `leftists,’ members of the ultranationalist Kahane Youth movement have become the raucous spearhead of recent demonstrations against the disengagement plan. Now youths in Jerusalem’s impoverished ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods are being enticed to join.
As they approached IDF Square, next to Jerusalem’s City Hall, where the eastern and western parts of the city meet, they noticed a group of some 30 youngsters, the boys walking separately from the girls. As it happened, they had just come back from the monthly ritual of encircling the Temple Mount - a mass of skullcaps, prayer shawls and long skirts - and were now screaming “Death to the Arabs!” and “Filthy Arabs, get out of our country!” at the top of their lungs.
Maabad and Nazigian didn’t pay much attention. Having been born into the occupation, such scenes are familiar to them. The little girl skipped ahead of them and tried to get her mother and her friend to play. “We didn’t think they would do anything to us,” they recall now - but before they realized what was happening, the Jewish group assaulted them, the boys attacking Saad and the girls Dalida and her daughter, pummeling and kicking them.
Maabad, who teaches physical fitness and two years ago came in third in the “Mr. Palestine” contest because of his muscular physique, was able to fend off the boys and then tried to get the girls off his girlfriend and her daughter. A few of the boys backed off and one of them threw a large stone that struck him in the chest and hand. The girls continued to beat Dalida and her daughter, who clung tightly to her mother in desperation, wailing.
“They pushed her to the ground,” Nazigian relates with pent-up emotion. “I shouted at them, `What are you doing? Can’t you see she’s just a little girl?’ I picked her up - and afterward I saw that her whole back was covered with blue marks. I didn’t know what to do. They kicked me in the stomach, in the leg. I didn’t care about anything, I was only afraid for my daughter. I didn’t know what to do.” The nightmare lasted or six or seven minutes.