Life in a small city is bound to have its share of coincidences and synchronicity, but for Ma’aleh Adumim resident Tzvika Cohen, that likelihood resulted in him being inadvertently involved in the only two terror attacks that have taken place inside the city in the past seven years.
Cohen was a victim in the first incident in 2016, when a Palestinian terrorist working at the city’s mall attacked him with an axe in the head, seriously wounding him. Cohen spent years in rehabilitation and is still disabled both physically and mentally and requires a caretaker.
On Tuesday, Cohen and his caretaker were at the city’s community center, where he volunteers a number of times a week. One of the center’s longtime custodians, a Palestinian from the neighboring town of al-Eizariya, approached Cohen and said that his 20-year-old son, recently employed on the community center’s cleaning staff, didn’t feel well. He asked Cohen if he could drive his son to the entrance to al-Eizariya, a 2 minute journey, according to a report in Zman Ma’aleh, the city’s local newspaper.
Cohen and the caretaker drove the son to the entrance, dropped him off, wished him a speedy recovery and returned past the checkpoint at the entrance to Ma’aleh Adumim and returned to the community center.
An hour later, the son, later identified as Muhannad Muhammad Suleiman al-Mazara’a, returned to Ma’aleh Adumim. Brandishing a gun and knife, he went on a shooting rampage in the city center shopping area, wounding six people, before being killed by an off duty Border Police officer who was getting a haircut.
Re-traumatising the victim of terror
According to Cohen’s brother, Moshe, as soon as he became aware that he had given a ride to the terrorist, Cohen became distraught that he had played an inadvertent role in another terrorist attack in Ma’aleh Adumim.
“He’s terrified and experiencing flashbacks from his past trauma,” said Cohen about his brother to Zman Ma’aleh.
Both Cohen and the terrorist’s father were being questioned by the police about the attack.