Monday, July 07, 2014

7-Jul-14: Rocks in the night

An Egged intercity bus from the co-operative's
website [Image Source]
We received this from a family member in the past hour:
Late last night, our son and daughter-in-law and two baby grandchildren took the bus home from a family event in central Israel to the southern Israel city where they live, located south of Beer Sheva. 
The Egged bus, filled with every sort of passenger but mainly family groups returning to their homes in the desert communities, passed several temporary roadblocks on the scheduled two-hour trip. These are evidently a response to the outbreaks of violence that have erupted this week. 
At one of them on a major road, the IDF people manning it said it would be better to find a different road. The driver, a Bedouin Arab (there are many who drive for Egged) took their advice, and sought an alternative route to his destination. 
Very soon after the roadblock, the bus came under rock attack. 
My son says it was quite terrifying - not at all the way it gets presented in the news reports. The front windshield was completely shattered, and the driver was covered in shards but, fortunately, not hurt. My son found one of the rocks and says it was the size of one and a half fists. 
The bus continued on - it was late at night, and everyone wanted to be back at home - and eventually reached the destination at 2 this morning. We later learned by word of mouth that other buses serving the same southern city had come under rock attack earlier last night; injuries and property damage resulted.
If there have been media reports of these attacks, we have not seen them. And for anyone wondering, the bus was not traveling in any "occupied" territories or passing through any inappropriate neighbourhoods.

What we did happen to notice in a report on the Haaretz site just now, is this:
Around 8:00 P.M. [Sunday night], a notice was received that mosques called on the residents of Tel Sheva to arrive at the Omer Local Council's entrance at 10:00 P.M. to throw stones at passersby. Council spokesman Nissim Nir told Haaretz that when he received the information, he tried to contact police commanders in the area, but they did not answer his attempts. A few minutes later, he provided local police with the information, who told him the information would be treated as intelligence. Despite the advance notice, around 10:30 P.M. hundreds of masked rioters gathered at the entrance and began throwing stones and molotov cocktails.
Firebombs and rocks, and bear in mind all of this is happening in parts of Israel that are not disputed by anyone sane or reasonable.

(Tel Sheva is a Bedouin Arab neighbourhood of Be'er Sheva, a city of 200,000 which was hit by a terrorist GRAD rocket earlier today. Omer is right next to it. As founders of a charitable organization, we visited Tel Sheva a few months ago. We may make that the subject of a separate post.)

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