After the Explosion: Impressions from Israel

Scene of the bombing (Photo: AFP)

Jennifer Nath, a DC community member currently visiting Israel, tells GTJ about her experiences following yesterday’s terror attack in Jerusalem.

In the middle of a class on American Politics at Bar Ilan University Wednesday afternoon, the professor stopped his lecture to answer a call from his wife.

“Are you dead?” he asked. “Are you injured?” “Good, talk to you after class.”

And he continued with his lecture, letting us know that there had been an attack by the Jerusalem Central Bus station. Some of the students starting tapping away on their phones and computers to see what had really happened; most continued taking notes.

I had planned to drive to Jerusalem that afternoon; I had even considered taking public transportation about an hour before the bombing. Instead, I decided to wait a few hours until traffic died down. On the road to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, nothing looked unusual or out of place. There was no visible sign, from the viewpoint of a driver crossing the country, that a suitcase had just exploded, killing and injuring people.

Only once I entered the city and drove past the Central Bus Station, did I notice that the entire right side of the road was blocked off. A small group of protestors marched, carrying handmade signs decrying the “spilling of Jewish blood.”  News crews had set up shop literally on top of the bus stops; news reporters were sitting cross-legged on the cement roofs of the Jerusalem bus stops with the cameras perched opposite them.

Once I passed the area surrounding the bus stop, all visible signs that there had been an attack disappeared again. The less visible signs, however, were reflected in the number of missed calls from worried parents and the fact that a Palestinian lecturer at an event I was going to attend wasn’t able to enter the city.

Today, the attack lingers in the news and people’s discussions, but the routines of everyday life continue as if a suitcase had never exploded yesterday in Jerusalem.