In Jerusalem, sirens warn of bloodshed

Israeli Jewish religious students mourn for fellow students during a memorial service for eight victims killed by a Palestinian gunman at the Merkaz Harav seminary in Jerusalem March 6. (CNS/Reuters)JERUSALEM — Our two young boys had finally fallen asleep when we saw the news trailer on the television announcing a special broadcast. Then almost simultaneously we heard the ambulances, and we knew there had been an attack. During the five years of the intifada the sounds of ambulances rushing through our neighborhood toward the nearby hospitals was a sure sign of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. Even now I still react instinctively to the sound of sirens, and once again they were a warning of bloodshed somewhere in the city.

This time the attack took place in a Jewish seminary, a 15-minute drive from where we live. I made sure our doors were locked. But it was not the closest call we have had. Six years ago, when our oldest son was only 3 months old, a young Palestinian woman blew herself up at the entrance of our neighborhood supermarket, only 10 minutes after we finished our shopping.

The morning after the seminary attack, residents of the religious neighborhood where it took place were busy doing their Sabbath shopping. Billboards were plastered with death notices for the eight students killed, and thousands gathered for the funeral before each body was taken to be buried by their families.

In their mourning, the families will join, among others, the Palestinian Abu Shabak family of Gaza, whose two children were killed March 2, and the Yihye children of the Israeli town of Btecha, who buried their father Feb. 29 — some of the newest casualties in the latest renewal of the vicious cycle which endlessly entangles Israelis and Palestinians.

PHOTO: Israeli Jewish religious students mourn for fellow students during a memorial service for eight victims killed by a Palestinian gunman at the Merkaz Harav seminary in Jerusalem March 6. (CNS/Reuters)

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