Gerald Hetzel, one of the German tourists who was violently attacked by a Palestinian mob in Shechem over the weekend, spoke to Kan News about the frightening experience.
“We felt very very afraid,” he said. “I felt really really endangered. I didn’t know if I would get out of it alive because they had so much hate against us.”
“They surrounded us and we tried to explain to them in English – that we’re tourists, we’re from Germany, we’re both not Jewish so we’re not a target for them. But they didn’t understand, they didn’t really listen to us. They just screamed at us.”
“They banged the car and then they took traffic signs and rocks that they were throwing at us. Someone pulled out a knife and stabbed the tires and also threatened my friend and tried to stab him. They were throwing rocks that were double the size of my head.”
The Arabs smashed the windows, kicked the doors, and damaged the tires of the car.
A Palestinian Authority police officer tried to help them but failed in quelling the mob, which was becoming bigger and angrier by the minute. Gerald said that the fact that the Palestinian police officer couldn’t help them – he didn’t have a car and he was unable for some reason to call for backup, made him feel completely helpless.
Gerald continued driving and the Palestinian mob continued to follow them, throwing rocks and street signs.
Fortunately, an Israeli Arab who was in Shechem signaled Gerald to follow him, leading them through side roads toward an IDF base next to Shavei Shomron. At a certain point, Gerald’s car came to a halt due to the damage tires and the Israeli-Arab took them into his car and drove them to the army base, where they were treated for minor injuries by IDF medics.
Regarding the Israeli-Arab who saved them, Gerald told B’Chadrei Chareidim: “He didn’t know we were tourists from Germany. He thought we were Israeli Jews who had mistakenly entered Shechem and he decided to save us. He prefers not to be interviewed or be exposed because he has family in Shechem and he also does business there. I met him today in Jerusalem, we exchanged numbers. I thanked him so much for what he did.”
Kan News asked: “Did this change the way you view Israel?”
Gerald, who has visited Israel a number of times, responded: “It doesn’t change my entire view of Israel. I think Israel is a very friendly country, I met a lot of nice people in Israel. But it definitely changes my mind about Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority areas in Judea and Samaria. I was never a target there in the past.”
However, Gerald was exposed to Palestinian’s virulent anti-Semitism on one of his trips to Israel in the past. “Already five years ago, I had an incident in Beit Lechem where I met three 16-year-olds and they were very very nice. But they told me directly that if they see a Jew on the street, they want to kill him. I think it’s a big problem that they have so much hate in their education.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)