Despite being one of the most well-guarded places in Jerusalem, the Damascus Gate leading into the capital's Old City has devolved into a flashpoint of Palestinian-driven terror attacks over the past year.
The latest such incident took place only last Saturday when an Arab terrorist stabbed and an Ultra-Orthodox Jew living in the city, before being shot and killed by security forces.
Saturday's attack occurred less than two weeks after a Hamas gunman opened fire in the Old City's Chain Gate, minutes away from the Damascus Gate. This attack also came hot on the heels of a Palestinian terrorist stabbing and wounding two Border Police troops near a yeshiva in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Despite the apparent dangers and the tension prevalent in the area, many Israelis choose to walk through the Damascus Gate on their way to the Western Wall or other locations around the Old City, be it for convenience's sake or as a statement.
Yaakov, a 35-year-old resident of Jerusalem who runs a business in the Old City said he frequently enters the Old City through the Damascus Gate "with my head held high.”
“Those who walk proudly through Damascus Gate and hold their head high are not attacked, while those who walk through quickly and appear to be afraid are often those who end up getting attacked,” explained Yaakov.
“We must maintain a presence here and we have no other way to do it, this is our only way to prevail."
Raz, a 24-year-old West Bank resident, echoed the same sentiment, adding that he walks through Damascus Gate on a daily basis: "It’s a purposeful undertaking to walk through here... And there are many troops here.”
Elazar, a 27-year-old yeshiva student who studies in the Old City, pointed out that “it’s more dangerous to drive on Route 1 [between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv] than to walk through here, there are far more car accidents."
"The terrorists carry out their attacks out of fear, this is our home, Jerusalem is our life,” he said.
He further noted that since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, “many millions of Arabs surrounding Israel are afraid to touch a few million Jews here. There is deterrence, we have the police and Border Police troops [here], and slowly, Jerusalem is shining onto the entire world."