Israelis are arming themselves with pepper-spray

From Desolate Playgrounds to Pepper-Spray, Rising Violence Affects Everyday Life in Israel

As we try to come around the idea of perhaps another Intifada, and as we are flooded with videos of violent stabbings and attacks that go viral, it’s perhaps easier to grasp the immediacy of the violence, but harder to grasp how it’s affecting everyday life.

Last Sunday morning, parents protested at the entrance of the Jerusalem City Hall for security guards to be placed at the entrances of their children’s schools. Security Organizations are facing a shortage of staff due to the high demands for security guards. Parents say they are willing to privately pay for security and are urging preschool teachers not to take children outside to play.


A report for channel 10 shows empty playgrounds from around the country, these playgrounds that are usually so full in the afternoon, parents and nannies with children in strollers, happy to spend some time after school lets out. Now they are desolate.

Parents aren’t even willing to walk the short distance from home to school. Those who have private cars drive their kids to school, and some have even opted to keep their children at home since the altercations began.

Through WhatsApp groups, parents share rumors and concerns about security, further igniting the general state of panic School trips to Jerusalem and across the country have been cancelled. Even youth movements like the Israeli scouts are being told not to meet in outdoor spaces, opting to meet instead at the homes of members.


The effects on the Arab citizens of Israel is also palpable, though not many are willing to be interviewed for Israeli media, a channel 10 report shows Arab workers at a Tel Aviv cafe have had some painful adjustments to make. Some of the workers were strip-searched for knives and weapons after cops asked for their IDs and saw that they were Arabs.

“I prefer not to speak in Arabic so as not to alarm Israelis,” one of the workers told the Channel 10 reporter. “We have your fear,” another Arab worker told the Israeli reporter, “I see the fear in your eyes and I feel the same way. It’s sad that we feel panic while walking the streets, despite the fact that none of us have anything to do with the situation.”

Taxi drivers are extremely busy as Israelis are too scared to take public transportation. Many Israelis who do not have the options of taking expensive cab rides have opted to walk the streets armed with pepper-spray. Sales of self-defense weapons, like shockers, batons and pepper spray, have risen drastically.

This Wednesday, a student in Herzeliyah accidentally let off his can of pepper spray in a closed classroom. He said he brought the pepper-spray into the class because “of the [security] situation”.


Lior Zaltzman

Lior Zaltzman

Lior Zaltzman is the Forward’s Digital Fellow and a wearer of many hats. When she’s not tweeting from the Forward’s account, she’s creating illustrations, graphics and lists for the various Forward blogs. She can also make comics out of your bad dates in #OYDATE. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in cartooning. Lior Zaltzman can be reached at Follow her on twitter @liorca.

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From Desolate Playgrounds to Pepper-Spray, Rising Violence Affects Everyday Life in Israel

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