Scene of stabbing and shooting attack aboard a bus in the capital's Armon Hanatziv .
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
A lone, blue sneaker rested on the pavement, next to shattered glass and a thick trail of fresh blood.
The blood led to a No. 78 Egged bus, which was riddled with bullet holes.
Inside, ZAKA rescue and recovery personnel soaked up more puddles of blood with paper towels to accompany the caskets of the two Jewish men who were slaughtered less than one hour earlier by two Arab terrorists who lived nearby.
The scene of the attack – at the Jerusalem intersection where the Jewish neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv meets the Arab neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber – was symbolic of the ongoing tension in the capital.
Life as usual in the Old City?
As hundreds of shaken residents gathered to take in the spectacle behind police lines, members of the international press repeatedly tried in vain to breach the closely guarded barrier to garner police interviews and close-ups of the bloodshed.
About 100 meters away, on the seemingly deserted Arab side of the border, a couple of young Palestinian men could be seen carefully observing the chaotic melee.
Still, despite the neighborhoods’ close proximity, they remained worlds apart.
While Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke with television crews from Israel, London and the US, a blonde, middle- aged woman could be heard screaming in anguish.
She said her name is Shoshana Rafaeli, and that she was not injured, but rather has reached her breaking point following Tuesday morning’s latest barbaric attack.
After two weeks of unabated violence carried out by Arab youths from Jebl Mukaber, who throw firebombs, rocks and fireworks at Jewish homes and residents every night, Rafaeli said she has had enough.
Barkat, attempting to maintain focus for the interviews, could not help but pause to look at the woman screaming. Despite multiple attempts by police and bystanders to calm her, Shoshana could not be placated.
“Every day and every night the Muslims attack us – they scream and shout at us, and make problems – and I can’t live like this anymore!” she said. “I live on this street and all the time it’s firebombs, rocks and [explosives]!”
The violence, she exclaimed, has nothing to do with false Arab claims that Israel intends to seize al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount, but rather is the product of sheer, unmitigated hate.
“They don’t care about al-Aksa – they are not even religious!” she continued.
“This is about hatred!”
Shoshana said she has lived in Armon Hanatziv for 10 years, and that Arab youths from Jebl Mukaber egregiously flout the law with impunity, all the while, looking for an excuse – any excuse – to attack or kill a Jew.
Indeed, during Rosh Hashana, a man from her neighborhood named Alexander Levlovitz was killed nearby when an Arab youth threw a rock at his car’s windshield as he was driving home with his two daughters.
When they are not terrorizing Jewish homes and residents, she said the teens throw rocks at Israelis walking with their families at the otherwise picturesque neighborhood promenade.
Still, Shoshanna said she does not hate Arabs.
She has many Arab friends, she repeated, and knows that most of them want to live in peace. But she could no longer live this way.
“I want this to stop!” Shoshanna screamed.
After Barkat concluded his brief press conference, during which he vowed that the city and country will fight and win the war against terrorism, the bus was finally towed away, and the crowd dispersed.
As a forensics officer took the lone blue sneaker as evidence, a municipal crew used powerful hoses to wash the shattered glass and thick trail of fresh blood away.