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Aliza H.
Photo by Kinneret Rifkind


Aliza H. and her husband Amichai
Photo by Kinneret Rifkind


Egged bus
Photo from israelity.com/tag/egged/

 


FORMER WINNIPEGER NARROWLY ESCAPES INJURY WHEN MOLOTOV COCKTAILS THROWN AT BUS 143 OUTSIDE JERUSALEM

by Rhonda J. Prepes, P. Eng., November 27, 2012

A former Winnipegger who just made Aliyah to Israel narrowly escaped injury when the bus she was on was attacked by two Molotov cocktails on November 20, 2012.

Nineteen year old Aliza H. and her husband  Amichai , who is originally from Burlington Ontario, were riding bus 143 around 10 p.m. from Jerusalem to their home in Kochav Yaakov (15 minutes North of Jerusalem) when two firebombs hit the bus. 

“We had just passed by the Hizme Barrier (the checkpoint between Jerusalem and the Shomron) when the first firebomb hit my window right where I had been resting my head. The bottle shattered and set afire. Fortunately, the bus window which is double pane did not break,” said Aliza.

“I was badly startled. I was crying hard and my husband had to calm me down. He pushed my head down so it would be protected from the possible threat of further attacks, and he held me tightly so that I would stop crying.”

According to Aliza the next firebomb hit further back on the bus and then rolled underneath and also set afire.

“Many people rushed to the back of the bus to make sure that the bus hadn't caught on fire. The bus sustained minimal damage and all passengers, bystanders, and the driver were alright, though some people were a little shaken up. I was by far, the most hysterical passenger. My husband and I had just gotten married, made Aliyah and moved to this yeshuv (settlement) three months ago.”

“This was my first experience with road-side terrorism, even though it is becoming a very common occurrence in the Palestinian Authority (PA) occupied areas of the West Bank and in the Binyamin Region, where our new home is located,” Aliza said.

The driver called an ambulance to meet the bus at the entrance to the settlement to ensure that passengers were alright. The settlement of Kochav Yaakov is comprised of approximately 500 families mainly of Hardal (Ultra-Orthodox/National Religious) and Dati Leumi (National Religious).

“I will not let this incident affect my day to day life. It is crucial that Jews not be afraid to live in their own land, even if it means the possibility of facing terrorism once in a while. Despite this very frightening experience, I am adamant about living where I do and leading as normal a day to day life as possible during this war time,” said Aliza.

“I am proud to live in Kochav Yaakov. My husband and I love our new Orthodox community, one filled with warm people who share the same ideals as we do. Israel is our home and our homeland and no amount of road-side terrorism or intensive terrorism will ever change that.”

Since the eruption of the war with Hamas, Jews living in Judea and Samaria have experienced an increase in Arab terror attacks. There were reports of several other incidences of riots and shooting that evening. Just 30 minutes after  a cease fire was announced rockets began flying inot Israel again and sirens could be heard in Kerem Shalom and Be'er Sheva.

Former Winnipegger Jennifer Heltay who also lives in Kochav Yaacov, the same yeshuv as Aliza H. had this to say about recent events in Israel:  

“More people have been killed in road accidents in this country than in all the wars and terror attacks combined. If I'm on the roads, I'm taking my life into my hands. So an Arab threw something at a bus and it made a noise. Everyone’s OK. Great. Time to move on.”

“I've been here 28 years and I'm kinda used to it. I had a friend in Jerusalem who had Arab youths throw rocks at her car. She's fine. I explain to people that in Canada or the US there is a grading system to tell people when there is danger. Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red. On 9/11/01 the US went from Blue to Red. In Israel, we actually never have Blue, Green or Yellow levels here. We just hang out between Orange (going to war) and Red (at war). We happen to be Red at the moment. At some point it will go back to Orange. It’s just the way we live. This is just what you get used to.”

“My Mom was here a few years ago and my daughter went to play at a friend’s house three blocks away. I let her go on her own (she was 8 at the time) and my Mom was hysterical. She said to me, "You can't let her go on her own. It’s dangerous, she could be abducted. She'll end up being one of those missing kids on the milk cartons".

“I told her that here we deal with different problems. Here, we can let our kids walk to their friends freely but, if you take a bus you don't always know if you'll get from A to B safely. Like what happened to the people in Tel Aviv today.”

“There are always ads on TV and billboards about driving safe in Israel. It doesn't seem to help much, though."

A version of this story was first published in the Jewish Tribune November 26, 2012.

 
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