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My Jerusalem Bus Line
Bus #13 on it's side on Jaffa Road
by Judy Lash Balint
July 2, 2008

My fellow bus riders and I generally spend our time at the bus stop grumbling about the #13 bus that's the only line that serves our neighborhood going to the center of town. The schedule is erratic; drivers are sometimes surly and the Egged bus company keeps on sending us the old-style purple and white buses that were pulled off most other lines years ago.

Today all we can do is stare in shock at the images of our #13 purple and white bus lying on its side on Jaffa Road after an Arab from eastern Jerusalem bulldozed the bus and dozens of cars and pedestrians in a deadly terror attack that claimed the lives of three Israelis and injured more than fifty.

Assaf Nadav, the driver of the #13 bus, and all the passengers reportedly managed to escape with varying degrees of injuries--no one was killed on the bus. Passengers related how they somehow managed to escape the shattered glass, grab for their screaming children and ran from the bus. Later this afternoon when the downtown roads are reopened, we'll be back waiting at the bus stop to go to do our pre-Shabbat shopping at Machane Yehudah, the market a few blocks away from where the bulldozer careened to a halt when the terrorist was overpowered. The crowded market may well have been his target.

Latest reports from the hospital are that a 6 month-old baby survived as she sat in a car seat in the back of a Toyota--her mother, the driver, was killed. In the six hours since the terror attack, no one has yet come forward to claim the baby.

In an "only in Jerusalem" scenario, the soldier who jumped on the bulldozer and killed today's terrorist was the brother-in-law of the guy who managed to eliminate the Mercaz Harav shooter last February.

This is the second Jerusalem terror attack in six months to be perpetrated by an Israeli ID-carrying Arab. Today's 30 year-old terrorist, a construction worker and father of two from Sur Baher (the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva carnage was carried out by the son of a well-to-do family from the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood). Both areas are Arab villages within Jerusalem's municipal boundaries, on the Israeli side of the security barrier. Residents of both villages work in Jerusalem's hotels, restaurants, hospitals, building sites and in every city department.

Would today's terrorist have been deterred if we would have destroyed the family home of the Mercaz Harav murderer and taken away all their financial and social benefits?

Is there any kind of effective deterrent against those educated to pure hatred who live in our midst?

Difficult questions that my fellow passengers will no doubt be debating as we ride the #13 bus in the coming days.