Israelis shopping at the bustling Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem a day after yet another deadly spree appeared to be undeterred by the fresh wave of terror attacks that has claimed the lives of 11 people in a week.
Due to the violence, Israel is on high alert and 1,000 IDF troops have been deployed across the country to boost police forces.
One was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack on Thursday in the West Bank, while five were killed in a shooting spree in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak on Tuesday; days earlier, two Arab Israelis opened fire in Hadera, killing two Border Police officers. Last week, four were killed in a stabbing and car-ramming attack in the southern city of Be'er Sheva. The assailants in the latter two attacks were affiliated with the Islamic State group.
“I’m not afraid,” an elderly security guard named Aryeh said as he ran some errands. “If it’s my time to die, then it’s my time to die. If not, then we’ll see when it happens.”
A nearby 70-year-old woman and longtime Jerusalem resident echoed those sentiments.
“I want the whole world to know that this is one of the nicest markets in all of Israel,” Batya said. “Nothing happened here today; it’s just panic. Unfortunately, our enemies want us to be scared; this is their goal. But we are strong and we will remain strong.”
The mood on a sunny Wednesday morning at Mahane Yehuda Market was calm, despite a security incident taking place there just hours earlier.
Earlier Wednesday, Israeli Police were called to the market to apprehend two individuals who had reportedly been behaving suspiciously. While the investigation into the incident is ongoing, the two are residents of east Jerusalem and had gotten into a fistfight with officers before being shot in their lower body, according to a police statement.
The duo were lightly wounded in the altercation and sent for medical treatment; a police officer was also injured in the incident.
Nearby vendors at the market who did not wish to be named said that the dispute was the result of a misunderstanding and that the two suspects are regular workers at the market.
“I have many Arab friends here at the market and everyone gets along well,” a seller named Roy related. “We work alongside each other all day, we laugh and talk. There’s an extremist minority that has hate in their hearts and make a mess for everyone else. I think that the state must show a firm hand to these extremists. We want peace.”
Others touring the market felt that it was important to send a strong message and continue their lives as normal.
“We will never give up,” said Harel, an educator from the northern city of Beit Shean who was visiting Jerusalem. “We’re here to show that we’re present and we want people to know how strong Israel is and how it does not bow to terror.”
The string of violent attacks in Israel has raised concerns of greater escalation ahead of the upcoming Christian, Jewish and Muslim holidays, which coalesce in the month of April. The Muslim holiday of Ramadan starts this weekend; the weeklong Jewish Passover begins April 15; while the Christian Holy Week kicks off on April 10 with Palm Sunday.
Written by Maya Margit and reprinted with permission from The Media Line.