Insights at the bomb site

Residents who live or work near the scene of last week’s attack are world-weary but resilient.

Bomb squad officers at J'lem bomb site 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Bomb squad officers at J'lem bomb site 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Aweek after the deadly terrorist attack opposite Binyenei Ha’uma – killing one woman and critically wounding dozens – residents of the city expressed mixed feelings of anger, sorrow, frustration and hope. However, the common denominator among everyone interviewed by In Jerusalem was a palpable sense of resilience.
When asked about their state of mind following the unexpected burst of violence, several locals said that while the explosion was jarring, they will continue to carry on their daily routines, undeterred by fear.
Sitting on stone steps adjacent to the Central Bus Station – roughly 200 meters from the site of the explosion – Moshe Cohen, who lives and works in Jerusalem, angrily dismissed the attack as futile.
“I heard the bomb, but I’m not afraid. I live here. You understand?” he asked, blowing smoke from his cigarette. “I have no problem because I’m 45 – I have heard ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’ here before in 1993 and 1997 and many other times. It’s no problem because it doesn’t work for [the terrorists]. Whether it’s at the bus station, the shuk – this is not going to work for them.”
Diab Emo, 29, was working at the reception desk at The Jerusalem Gold Hotel, overlooking the scene of the explosion, when the attack occurred.
“It’s not the first bomb we’ve had [here]. The problem is that for years we didn’t have anything, so the fear comes back a little when it happens,” Emo said. “But afterwards we cannot stop living.
We are very sorry that it happened again, but what can we do? We must carry on.”
Rivka Barzlaifor, a grandmother in her 60s, said the attack brought back feelings she did not want to return.
“I feel terrible about it,” she said. “It brings me back to the second intifada, and I worry a lot. I just want peace and a happy ending for me and my family.”
Meanwhile, two Arab-Israeli men who live and work near the site of the blast expressed frustration regarding the media’s rush to judgment as to who is responsible for the bombing.
“You know, here in Jerusalem it’s quiet, and when something like this happens, you don’t know who is responsible,” said Sam, 47, who refused to provide his last name. “It could be anybody. It happens all around the Arab world. Sometimes I worry a little, but I hope it won’t stop tourists from coming because it’s a tourist country.”
His co-worker, Yazen, 20, also said he refused to speculate on who carried out the attack and noted that his identity as an Arab- Israeli in no way mitigates his desire for peace.
“I heard it when it happened. I was working like everyone else. For now they don’t know who is responsible,” he said. “Look, I just want peace. I don’t care about who I am – Arab or not – I just want peace with Jews, with Christians. With everyone.”