Five orthodox Jewish American students from Brooklyn were attacked with rocks and a firebomb after they inadvertently entered an Arab neighborhood in Hebron on Thursday night. Two of the young men were lightly injured in the face from broken glass but tragedy was averted when an Arab resident sheltered them in his home until Israeli Security forces arrived.
The five young men were on their way to the Cave of the Patriarchs when they entered the Jabel Johar neighborhood. They reported that they were misled by the GPS app Waze, which does not take into account security issues when giving directions.
Their car was quickly surrounded by Arabs, who began to attack their car, forcing the students to flee. The car was destroyed by fire in the attack, as were their belongings, which included their passports and tefillin (phylacteries). Fayez Abu Hamdia, who lives near the scene of attack, managed to bring the students into his home, sheltering them from the mob that had gathered.
“I’m not a hero,” Abu Hamdia told Ynet. “I did what needed to be done. As soon as we saw that a riot was starting outside, my family and I managed to bring them inside and we quickly closed the doors. We gave them water to drink and tried to tell them that they were safe, but they didn’t speak Arabic.”
“We are all human first and foremost,” said Hamdia. “That’s how everyone should behave. We have no problems with the Israelis and we don’t want to have any.”
The rescue of the five students was coordinated between the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, Palestinian Authority security forces, the IDF and a police reconnaissance unit. The Arab mob continued to clash with security forces after the five studentss were removed from the scene.
According to Jewish residents in the area, an IDF outpost was recently turned over to Palestinian Authority Security Forces, which may have contributed to the confusion of the victims, while also allowing the situation to escalate.