At 2 pm this afternoon I was walking in Jerusalem to a meeting when three police vehicles raced past me en route to the Old City. My heart saddened as I knew why. Another attack. Among the saddest dimensions of the terror attacks of the past six months is how routine they appear to have become.
Rapid Response to terrorist incidents, a quick return to normal life is one of the ways in which Israelis refuse to permit terrorists to disrupt the flow of daily life. Within two minutes, the police seek to contain and secure the scene. Within two hours, wounded are treated, deceased honorably transported, residents in the immediate area are communicated with, and the facts of what transpired are ascertained and disseminated internationally. Two days is the average amount of time within which any funerals will take place, and the stories about the victims lives are at the forefront of national consciousness and conversation.
Our ADL Law Enforcement Counter-Terrorism mission met many highly capable Officers in the Israeli Police throughout our visit. One such Officer was also a survivor of a horrific terror attack back in 2002. Sg. Major Ronit Tubul boarded a bus to go to work. At the next stop a suicide bomber got on and immediately blew up the bus. Ronit survived because she was ejected through the blown off roof. She spent nineteen days in a coma, survived multiple surgeries, and an extremely difficult and long recovery. She still trembles at the thought of boarding a bus. Ronit’s courageous story which now finds her back on the job with the police, demonstrates that two decades is barely enough time to contain the trauma for a survivor of terrorism.
2 Minutes, 2 Hours, 2 Days, 2 Decades. 2 pm this afternoon in Jerusalem. Anything but routine.
We have just learned that one of the three wounded in today’s attack outside the Old City has died, 19-year-old Israeli Policewoman Hadar Cohen. The same age as our son Kobi, living in Jerusalem for the balance of this year, who just received an extra firm goodbye hug from his father. Hadar had just joined the Israeli National Police (the hosts of our ADL Delegation) a mere two months ago. May she rest in peace.
Rabbi William Hamilton
Image: At ADL Israel offices with Nurit Tubul, terror survivor and National Police Sgt. Maj.