The City is particularly quiet this morning; especially for a Friday. Despite the glorious early summer weather, the normal hustle and bustle of pre-Shabbat is missing. Almost like Jerusalem woke-up today wrapped in a cocoon.
Police and the IDF are visibly in abundance; the City is devoid of horn-honking drivers. Actually, it is somewhat devoid of cars in general.
Kikar Zion, the regular Friday gathering place for the thousands of ‘gap year’ students, is pretty empty. Cafe Neeman, at the site of the old Sabarro’s, has a half-dozen fully armed soldiers watching the entrance way.
Machane Yehuda resembles Sunday afternoon, not Friday noon. My florist (located deep inside the shuk) told me business was off 50% this morning.
With their usual efficiency, I watched as the Jerusalem police checked beneath an emptied bus and cleared the surrounding streets (Ben Yehuda and King George), after a knapsack bearing a MASA emblem was discovered owner-less inside (the bus).
Over coffee this morning, my wife and I observed that all of us who live here have become a little to comfortable and a bit to careless recently.
I do not remembver the last time I was “wanded” upon entering the bank, or a supermarket; the City (or Egged) pulled all bus security in Jerusalem two months ago stating this is no longer necessary. The list, I’m afraid, goes on.
I am not suggesting any of this would have prevented the tragedy of last night.
The loss of life, and injuries, was not even close to the worst of the past. But we are in a war of terror. Whether we agree, or disagree, with government policy, last night’s escalation into the heart of Jerusalem, on top of the ever increasing upswing in rocket attacks on Sderot, will dramatically reduce the choices, margin of error and survival likelihood of the status-quo.