On Wednesday morning, parents confessed that their children are constantly asking about the attack and are afraid to go to school alone. Many of them told Ynet that they go armed with pepper spray.
“I considered leaving my daughter at home, until things calm down,” said one of the mothers.
“My son is terrified and doesn’t sleep at night,” the mother of an 8th grade student said. “He keeps talking about his friend that was wounded.”
“I didn’t go to school yesterday,” said Eden Illouz, a 10th grade student. “I’m petrified. Children are scared to leave the house. They won’t go to the shop or walk around the neighborhood.
“I feel that my mom is even more stressed than me,” Illouz continued. “This morning she didn’t want me to go to school, but I didn’t want to fall behind. Because of everything that’s happening, I go around with mace in my hand.
“All my friends are doing the same thing,” she said.
Ilan Azoulay, the father of two students in the 9th and 7th grade, added: “Instead of going to work in the morning I take my children to school. Before this wave of terror started, I would drop them at the gas station and they would walk on their own from there.
“Now, there’s no way they’re going alone. It’s a stressful situation,” he continued. “The children are constantly talking about what’s happening.”
Since the beginning of the current wave of terror attacks, Jerusalem’s education system has been more concerned with providing adequate security cover than with studies. On Wednesday morning, following substantial pressure, an armed city inspector was posted at the entrance to the Etzel kindergarten in the French Hill neighborhood, in place of a security guard.
But the electronic gate at the site has a mind of its own: Sometimes it locks, sometimes it doesn’t. “They're only fixing it now,” said Eli Rozenfeld, whose son attends the kindergarten.
“We need to wake up and arrange for proper security cover,” he added.
Rozenfeld also commented on the complexity of life alongside Arab neighbors. “There is an Arab population here and Arab children attend the kindergarten,” he said.
“Their parents are more worried than anyone because they read Arabic networks. During the summer, they were already saying, ‘something is happening, bring a security guard,’” Rozenfeld continued.
“But it took a while until the penny dropped for us,” he said.
Anna Furer was fearful when she took her son Absalom to kindergarten Wednesday morning. “I am so afraid to bring him because this area is completely unsafe,” she said.
“On the other hand, we have to maintain a routine. Still, even going to kindergarten is scary,” Furer added.
When asked if her son could feel that something was going on, Furer answered: “He’s starting to understand, I think. He asks all sorts of questions such as, ‘What’s an attack?’ and ‘What is running over?’
“I explain things at his level. I don’t hide anything but I also don’t want to make him hysterical and afraid,” she continued.
The Jerusalem municipality stated: “There is no funding issue. The mayor is working to increase security cover at educational institutions and additional security guards are being recruited.
“For the time being, as recruitment is ongoing, the mayor has placed city inspectors at these kindergartens,” the statement continued. “Security officers are guiding the inspectors and assisting them in carrying out their duties.
“Additionally, the municipality has formed a special rapid response motorbike unit for the seam neighborhoods, which will provide additional security for educational institutions and kindergartens.”