Jerusalemites remain stoic, alert 1 day after mass terrorist attack thwarted

The suspect, a man in his 20s from the village of Beit Ula, near Hebron, was apprehended by attentive security guards stationed near Jaffa Center station

July 18, 2016 20:20
2 minute read.

Police arrest Palestinian man suspected of carrying an explosive device near the Jerusalem light rail . (photo credit: Courtesy)

Twenty-four hours after an Arab terrorist attempted to detonate three pipe bombs on a light rail tram car during morning rush hour in downtown Jerusalem, residents of the capital Monday expressed an equal measure of stoicism, alertness and weary resolve.

The suspect, a man in his 20s from the West Bank village of Beit Ula near Hebron, was apprehended by attentive security guards stationed near Jaffa Center station before he could carry out what would have been one of the deadliest attacks in years.

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Shiran, who works at Scoop Fashion Shoes, roughly 50 meters away from the station on Jaffa Road, said she has become conditioned over many years to not allow terrorists to upend her life.

“I have lived in Jerusalem all my life, and am not at all affected by this today,” she said. “I was a little bit nervous yesterday. But I got back to normal quickly.”

Asked if she believed her attitude is typical of Jerusalemites, Shiran smiled. “In Jerusalem this is our life.”

While standing near the tram station targeted, Yeshaya Horowitz, 45, an Orthodox man who works on Jaffa Road, said he believes Sunday’s failed attack was a form of divine intervention. “God keeps us safe,” he said.

“This was a miracle. It’s not about security. We have the eye of God keeping us safe in Jerusalem. It’s obvious, because this attack could have been very deadly… And the fact that [the terrorist] became confused and someone had the ability to come up to him to stop him, that’s really divine intervention.”

High school students Hanna Vazana and Tamar Katz, both 17, sat together on a bench at the station, waiting for the light rail tram to arrive to take them home.

“We’re used to this,” said Katz. “I don’t always feel safe.

But I know I can’t stop my life, so I know I need to keep going, and to keep doing things. If I were to stop everything, I would not go anywhere… So we need to get used to it.” Although Katz acknowledged she is occasionally frightened by the ongoing threats of violence in the capital, she said she has mastered her control over fear.

“You need to deal with the fear,” she explained.

“It’s our reality,” added Vazana. “We will keep doing everything we used to do.”

While selling exotic, ornate shirts on the sidewalk from Siam, an Indian clothing shop a few meters from the station, Shabi Vaknin, 24, said his brother was killed by an Arab terrorist 12 years ago on nearby King George Street.

“I was born here 24 years ago, and my brother was killed near here by a terrorist suicide bomber,” he said.

“We get used to it.”

Still, Vaknin said he believes that it is time for the government to divide the city, to finally separate "Arab predators from their Jewish prey."

“Let them have their own country, but keep them far from us,” he added. “Not just Jews, but all good people.”

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