The family of an 80-year-old woman who was stabbed in a Monday terror attack in Rishon Lezion voiced outrage Tuesday that a mob of Israelis chased after her Palestinian attacker but gave the wounded woman no succor.
A video from the scene of Monday’s attack, in which Rachel Eisenkot and two others were stabbed, showed the 19-year-old Palestinian suspect knife Eisenkot in the back while running.
At least six people ran past the wounded woman as she lay injured on the ground.
Eisenkot was hospitalized with serious injuries. By Tuesday morning, her condition had stabilized and she had improved to moderate condition.
Eisenkot’s daughter Ruti Malka told Channel 2 that she was “shocked and disappointed” that the attacker’s pursuers ran past and leaped over her mother “like some object strewn there.”
Dozens of police officers had to protect the Palestinian terrorist — who stabbed and wounded two Israelis before running into a store, where he stabbed another — from an angry mob who attempted to lynch him.
Angry bystanders converged on the store and cornered the terrorist just as police on motorcycles arrived.
Cellphone video footage shows police officers holding back dozens of people attempting to reach the the attacker as officers handcuffed and arrested him. A handful of people can be heard shouting: “Why is he still alive?” and “Death to the Arabs.”
“I’d like to give them a dose more than what I’d like to give the terrorist,” Sagit Bracha-Eisenkot, the injured woman’s granddaughter, told Channel 2. “Thirty people chased after him. Just one of them should have stopped and helped my grandmother.”
“I think everyone needs to do some introspection,” she said. “What have we turned into?”
Yaakov Galantz, an eyewitness to the attack, defended the actions of bystanders, saying that “there was terrible panic in the street and we weren’t sure who the attacker was.”
“The first who arrived and continued onward asked first and foremost to stop the terrorist. It’s important for me to clarify that within less than 20 minutes of the stabbing i was already with [Eisenkot], I didn’t move from her side for a moment and I called an ambulance,” he said in a Channel 2 interview.
The stabbings came amid a wave of Palestinian attacks that have at times called into question some bystanders’ conduct.
In a video of a shooting attack at the Beersheba bus station last month, armed soldiers could be seen running from the scene instead of toward the attacker.
In that same incident, an Eritrean national was gunned down mistakenly and then beaten by an unruly mob, in an incident that spurred a bout of hand wringing. He later died of the gunshot wounds.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would overcome the spate of knife attacks just as it overcame Gazan missile launches.
“While we do not shrink from the steps necessary to defeat this terrorism, we know that in the end we rely on willpower, the iron willpower of our people who have been here over the past 100 years, which overcomes all obstacles and is developing the country in a way that inspires the world,” he said at an event in the lower Galilee town of Afula.