Jerusalem tractor drivers fear for their lives following terror attacks
East Jerusalem tractor drivers say have become easy targets in wake of series of terror attacks in capital. 'We have done nothing wrong, but people still give us hateful looks in the street,' one of them says during demonstration, 'anyone who shoots a tractor driver is considered a hero'
Several dozen tractor drivers from east Jerusalem protested outside Teddy Stadium in the capital Tuesday and carried signs reading "I am not a terrorist".
The drivers said their lives were at risk in the wake of a series of terror attacks in Jerusalem in which tractors were used. In July three people were killed and 36 others were injured during a tractor attack on Jaffa Street.
In September a similar attack on King David Street left 18 people wounded, and during the most recent tractor attack, carried out in early March, two police officers were lightly injured when a tractor plowed into their squad car on Menachem Begin Boulevard.
In all of the incidents the terrorists driving the tractors were shot and killed.
"We have done nothing wrong, but people still give us hateful looks on the street," said Isam Jaradat, a 35-year-old tractor driver from Wadi Joz. "We are afraid that any mistake on our part may result in a bullet to the head. One of my drivers quit because of this. All we want is to make an honest living, and we urge the public not to fear us."
Another tractor driver said, "Anyone who shoots a tractor driver is considered a hero; anyone holding a gun will want to open fire because he thinks he may receive a million shekel (about $242,000) reward.
"One day I entered a very narrow alley and hit a car's side-view mirror by mistake. The owner of the car immediately began shouting 'terrorist, terrorist!' I fled the scene for fear someone would shoot me. Had I waited for the police to show up, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now," he said.
According to him, the incident on King David Street was an accident rather than a terror attack. "I am 100% sure of this. I knew the driver personally. He was my employee and was about to get married. He was a decent, quiet man.
"Eyewitness accounts and photos taken at the scene prove that he had taken a wrong turn. How could it be that he was shot 37 times? One bullet in the leg would have been enough to demobilize him."