Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Bomb I Didn't Meet

Minutes ago on Yaffa Street in Jerusalem, alert light rail guards detained a suspicious Arab, wrestled him to the ground and separated him from the bomb that he was carrying. Less than 15 minutes before that, I was on another train, going in the same direction. I exited at that stop, bought a salad, and continued on to work. My train was perhaps one or two before the one that this terrorist attempted to board.

I didn't meet the bomber. I didn't meet the bomb. The bomb didn't explode. In the center of Jerusalem, in the center of the center of Jerusalem. The bomb didn't explode.

My phone beeped with the warning even before I had entered my office. Terrorist caught on Rechov [Street] Yaffo; area closed down. Police disarming the bomb. In nearby stores, workers and customers were quickly ordered to evacuate. In a video that has already been posted, you hear the police warning someone to get back.

The sun is shining on my beautiful city. I'm in my office, a five minute walk away. All the "what could have beens" are going through the minds of hundreds of people. It is an insane life to lead; to always be on alert; to always suspect. What saved the day here in Jerusalem - and what cost the French 84 lives is a "dirty" concept called profiling.

Profiling works. It is as simple as that. Today, it worked in Jerusalem and dozens, potentially hundreds of people are continuing their day, a bit shocked, a bit shaky. It would have worked in Nice if the police had dared to check a Muslim man in a non-refrigerated truck who said he was there to give ice cream away.

Jewish Press Covering this Morning's Attempted Bombing
I have been stopped in Vienna, in Amsterdam and in London, asked to show my passport, explain why I am traveling, my bags searched. They wanted to know if I had any liquid above 100 ml. One time, I had to surrender my toothpaste.

"What are you looking for?" I ask repeatedly. As my mother once asked in Frankfurt years ago (then she was 67), now I ask, "how many 55-year-old Jewish grandmothers who live in Israel hijack planes?"

"Will you remove your hat?" one security guard asked me in London.

"No," I responded.

"If I take you to a private room, will you remove your hat?" she asked. "Is it for religious reasons?"

"Yes and yes," I answered and so she escorted me to a private room where I showed her that I have more gray hairs than I'd like to admit and no bomb under my scarf.

That's when I told her that what she was doing made no sense and asked about the activity of those Jewish grandmothers.

This time, I finally got an answer, while all the other times my comment was ignored. "You're right," said the harried security guard. "My father is from Israel. You're right. But it pays my rent."

"On that, I'll agree," I told her. It pays her rent...and that's about it.

Profiling saved the lives of Israelis, yet again, this morning on Jaffa Street. Dozens of families are not rushing to hospitals, or worse, at this moment. All because alert security guards did their job with all the tools in their possession - and profiling is one of them.

And yet again, a special thank you to the security guards of Israel who put their bodies and their lives in front of ours every day. May God bless you. May God watch over you. May God keep you safe.


Miriam said...

Paula, Baruch Hashem you are safe in your office.

A friend of both of ours said her son was on the train...



Netivotgirl said...

Beautiful and moving. I'm so glad you are safely ensconced in your office! Thank you Hashem for another miracle and thank you Paula for once again writing so eloquently about events here!

Aidel Knaidel said...

BH! My son lives nearby. I'm glad both of you are safe. Wonderful post.

Aidel Knaidel said...

BH! My son lives nearby. I'm glad both of you are safe. Wonderful post.

CDG, Yerushalayim, Eretz Yisrael Shlemah said...

My husband and I were two of those hundreds of people you mention in your article. We are never downtown that early in the morning, but we had an errand to do, and got it done. Thank G-d.

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