Jerusalem's Shabbat siren goes musical to avoid unnerving northern refugees

Jerusalem's Shabbat siren will be temporarily replaced by traditional Shabbat melodies following a series of complaints by people from the North who are staying in the city that the air-raid sirens unnerve them, the city said Thursday. The brief Friday evening siren, which marks the start of Shabbat each week, has been upsetting many northerns taking refuge in Jerusalem from Katyusha rockets as it reminds them of the sirens they heard before rockets fell, a municipal spokesman said. This trauma was brought home to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski by a family from the North who were at his house over Shabbat and who became panic-stricken upon hearing the siren. The new and improved benign Shabbat sirens are expected to be introduced citywide in phases starting Friday. Some 40,000 people from northern Israel are currently in Jerusalem, the largest number of any city nationwide, the spokesman said. During the height of the Palestinian suicide bombing campaign four years ago, Jerusalem police asked the IAF not to fly planes over the city since the sonic booms they left in their wake sent bomb-weary city residents into a panic.