On Monday a bus blew up.
I heard a lot of sirens all of a sudden just before 6pm. At first I thought it was a VIP and his entourage. But then there were more. And more.
Facebook. A friend’s comment. “Anyone know what happened on Derech Hevron?” And then the answers started flooding in. It wasn’t Derech Hevron. A bus. Was it terror? Wait. The police don’t want to say that yet. Definitely bus on fire. Second bus also on fire. Then the evidence pointed to terror.
*Sigh* I remember those days. I didn’t like those days. I don’t want those days back.
Between 6pm and 7pm I had to make a decision. My Tai Chi class is in the same neighborhood as the bus bombing. Should I take a bus as usual? Class wasn’t canceled (of course), so I decided to walk. I walked in part because I could use the additional exercise. The chance of another bus attack was pretty small, but it’s been so long since a bus attack that I just didn’t want to get on a bus.
It took 45 minutes and I was pretty pleased with myself.
On the way back, another choice. As I was passing the bus stop, the bus came. I could have gotten on. There were plenty of people taking the bus right then. But I chose to walk.
I was happy with the accomplishment of walking to and from class. It was a good long walk and something that I had considered doing before. But I’m bothered by the fact that the thing that pushed me to do it was a bus blowing up.
Two days later, I had a chance to ease my bothered feelings. I took a train and a bus to where I needed to go. I walked in crowded areas where I needed to run my errands and life was back to normal.
Since this is Israel, “normal” right now means high alert. Over major holidays in Israel there is a much more visible presence of security personnel and starting today and for the next 48 hours the West Bank and Gaza Strip are closed off.
I am sure that upon hearing the words “West Bank closed off” there are those who would cry “oppressive occupation” and excuse all violence against civilians as “legitimate protest.” I disagree. Besides nothing being “legitimate” about blowing up a bus filled with civilians, as a citizen of Israel, I expect my government and our armed forces to protect civilians. I expect to feel secure as I walk or take a bus in my streets. And when I look at images like this, I’m glad that security personnel are doing everything in their power to keep us safe.
Originally, I had plans to write a nice Friday email about my first Passover in Israel, but this week provided many other potential topics – this bus bombing, a follow-up on Western Wall/Temple Mount issues, and Prince, another icon from my childhood, passed away. Well, it will still be Passover next Friday and I may yet write about these other things too.
Wishing everyone a peaceful Passover!