Tension in Jerusalem Simmers One Day After Bloody Attack on Synagogue

Schools, public institutions increase security precautions; Netanyahu: 'We will return security to Jerusalem using a firm hand.'

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews peer through the bullet holes in the main window of a synagogue in Jerusalem which was attacked the previous day by two Palestinians armed with a gun and meat cleavers.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews peer through the bullet holes in the main window of a synagogue in Jerusalem which was attacked the previous day by two Palestinians armed with a gun and meat cleavers. Credit: AFP

One day after the terror attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem, the tension in the city is palpable, with police heavily deployed, cars vandalized overnight and disruptions in public transportation.

The security cabinet is set to convene at 5:30 P.M. (10:30 A.M. EST) to discuss Tuesday's attack and be briefed by security officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that there would be "additional demolitions of homes and other steps taken" to response to the recent wave of attacks against Israelis. Israel on Tuesday demolished the home of the terrorist responsible for last month's attack at a Jerusalem light rail station.

Netanyahu made his remarks during a visit to an operations room set up by the Jerusalem municipality and police in thw wake of increased tension throughout the city, particularly in neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

"We have nothing against the residents of East Jerusalem," Netanyahu said. "But we will not tolerate attacks on our citizens and we will confront those who perpetrate them and also against those who incite. We will return security to Jerusalem using a firm hand."

The Silwan home of the Shaludi family after security forces demolished it earlier this month. Abdel Rahman Shaludi killed three people in a terror attack last month. Credit: Reuters

Some Palestinian workers in the western Jewish part of the city didn’t show up for work today. In addition, Palestinian bus drivers held a partial strike to protest what they believe was the murder of their colleague Hassan al-Ramouni, who was found hanged in his bus three days ago and whose death was determined to be a suicide.

On Wednesday morning, deputy mayor Yossi Deutsch and city council member Yitzhak Pindrus (both from United Torah Judaism) called on Egged chairman Avi Friedman to fire all the Arab drivers who refuse to return to work, on the grounds that they pose a danger to the passengers. “We must underscore that we are talking about a real danger to human life here, and if this matter is not dealt with immediately, we will not be able to say that our hands our clean and had nothing to do with this bloodshed,” the two wrote.

Schools and public institutions increased their security precautions and large police and Border Police forces have been deployed along the seam line and at the entrances to the city’s Palestinian neighborhoods. During the night, the tires of five cars parked on Hillel Street downtown were punctured. The police are investigating.

The families of the two terrorists who perpetrated the synagogue attack on Tuesday — in which four worshippers and a police officer were killed — are fighting to get their bodies released for burial. On Tuesday, the family of cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukkaber turned to the Magistrate’s Court to request the release of their bodies. Judge Dov Pollock turned down the request and accepted the state’s position that the bodies are still required for investigation purposes. This afternoon, attorney Mohammed Mahmoud filed an appeal on the family’s behalf in Jerusalem District Court. “The petitioners will argue that the respondent is punishing them for the actions committed by their sons, and that this should not be done since the families are not to blame for all that was done by their sons and that these things were done without the knowledge of anyone in their families.” Unlike in previous incidents, the family is not expected to object to the security establishment’s demand to limit attendance at the funeral.

Meanwhile, security forces last night demolished the Silwan home of the Shaludi family, whose son Abdel Rahman killed three people, including a three–month–old baby, by running them over in a terror attack in Jerusalem last month. Security forces arrived at the family's residence around 1:00 A.M, combed the building, searched all the apartments, evacuated residents and then blew up the inside part of the apartment where the Shaludi family – parents and five siblings – lived. The demolished house was home to children ages 8, 12 and 16. Neighbors, who are also related to the Shaludi family, pointed out cracks and other damage caused by the explosion. A vehicle parked on the street was completely destroyed by blocks of cement that fell on it. “Why did they do this?” asked Tamr Shaludi, uncle of one of the terrorists. “It’s the children who will remember what happened here. They’ll remember that they were out in the street for five hours in the cold. What will happen with the children a few years from now?”

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