Watch CBS News

Tension Rises Between Local Jewish, Palestinian Leaders; De Blasio Heads To Israel

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The wave of violence in Israel has sparked an intense and emotional class between Palestinian and Jewish leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, a new cry that Jewish lives matter has been heard in Israel as well as in New York City.

Ahmed Manasra, 13, is at the center of the latest war of words between Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas charged that Manasra – who stabbed an Israeli boy in the wave of violence that has hit the Holy Land – was killed as part of what he called Israel's "summary execution of our children in cold blood."

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu countered: "(Manasra) is not dead, he is alive. He is not innocent. He tried to murder a 13-year-old child who was riding his bike."

The Israeli Foreign Ministry quickly put out pictures of Manasra recuperating in a hospital bed to quell the uproar. Netanyahu accused Abbas of trying to incite more bloodshed.

"Enough! Enough! Enough!" Rabbi Avi Weiss said back in New York as he addressed a rally.

Local Jewish groups rallied in New York Thursday for an end to the violence. Several talked about a provocative tweet from prominent Arab-American Linda Sarsour, showing a picture of a Palestinian child with a rock in his hand and the words, "the definition of courage."

The tweet might have disappeared into the Twittersphere, but an angry Jewish city councilman tweeted back, calling the picture "the definition of barbarism."

"Holding up the image of a small child with rocks in his hand about to engage in a riot is encouraging and validating that barbarous behavior," said Queens City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-24th). "She has monstrous views."

And in a move that was upsetting to some, Sarsour's organization – the Arab-American Association of New York – has received $164,000 in City Council funding since 2012.

"She should suffer the consequences," Weiss said. "Whoever says 'courageous' is complicit to the act of murder. I think she should lose her City Council funding."

But Lancman stopped short of saying Sarsour should lose her city funds.

"I think we have to be careful about making funding decisions based on the personal views of the people who lead those organizations," Lancman said.

Repeated attempts to reach Sarsour were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio was set to leave Thursday night a three-day trip to Israel .

The mayor is due to meet with students, parents and faculty at Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel, a multicultural school in Jerusalem where Jewish and Arab children attend classes. The school was the target of an arson attack in November.

"Obviously, this is a region that needs peace deeply, and peace is elusive," de Blasio told reporters, including WCBS 880's Rich Lamb and 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa. "One of the ways we foster peace is through inclusion, and our hopes have to be with the young people at this point. The previous generation hasn't managed to find the path to peace."

He will also address the need to fight anti-Semitism before a conference of mayors.

De Blasio considered a trip to the West Bank, but that has been canceled due to security concerns, according to a spokeswoman. He said he thinks it's inappropriate at this time to meet with Palestinian leaders.

This will be de Blasio's fourth trip to Israel, but his first as mayor, WCBS 880s' Rich Lamb reported.

Back in Israel, Netanyahu said he would be open to meeting with Palestinian leaders to stop the incitement and stop the attacks.

On Thursday morning, soldiers had been deployed across Jerusalem in an effort to stop the wave of violence in the region, CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti reported.

Eight Israelis and 31 Palestinians have been killed in recent weeks. The Palestinian U.N. ambassador said seven of the Palestinians killed were children.

As the situation intensifies, the Israeli government has eased gun laws to allow citizens to defend themselves. So far, officials claim several armed citizens have helped prevent attacks.

The White House is urging both sides to take steps to deescalate tensions.

"Ultimately ending this conflict will require both sides making some difficult decisions," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

Secretary of State John Kerry will head to Jordan soon. Officials familiar with Kerry's plans said he'll likely meet there separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Meanwhile, the Arab League has called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to address the violence.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.