Residents of Meah Shearim were saved last Wednesday from a
huge explosion from a bomb planted in a parked car that was
dismantled before it could explode. This is the fourth such
incident in the last two months. The first bomb was
neutralized on Shivtei Yisroel Street, the second on Shomrei
Emunim Street. The third bomb, placed in a car in the Beis
Yisroel neighborhood, actually exploded, but bechasdei
Hashem, there were no casualties.
"HaKodosh Boruch Hu sent me to save lives," said the
inspector who discovered the suspicious car on Meah Shearim
It all began at three in the afternoon. The car was first
reported by a taxi driver from Eisenbach cab station, who
found the Mazda Lantis parked in a spot reserved for the
company's cabbies. He called the city inspector's office to
complain. The car was in such a way that it disturbed the
flow of traffic, and it seemed as if the driver had rushed
out of the car without checking to see how he had parked.
Shimon Roash, a 37-year-old Kiryat Arba man who works for
the city as a parking inspector, came and began preparing a
parking ticket. When he typed the car's license number into
his hand-held computer linked to the central police vehicle
database, he saw the car was stolen.
This modern hand-held data-terminal has only recently been
put in use by the city. When he looked inside the car, he
also saw a cellular telephone connected with wires to an
electrical switch. This aroused his suspicion and he
immediately summoned the police and began telling people to
leave the area.
Within a few moments, sappers and scores of policemen
arrived on the scene. They quickly evacuated the pedestrians
and all of the streets leading to Kikar Shabbos were closed,
causing prolonged traffic jams in the center of Jerusalem.
More police were summoned. Scores of police combed the
region with dogs to determine that there were no more bombs
in the area.
After it had become clear that the car contained a bomb that
was liable to explode at any moment, it was decided to
evacuate the residents from their homes. The buildings in
the area are very old, and an explosion could have caused
many of them to collapse.
Working slowly and carefully, the police sappers tried to
open the trunk, but without success. At that stage, it was
decided to conduct a supervised explosion with a robot in
order to break into the car. That attempt revealed a number
of powerful bombs made from fifteen-centimeter pipes.
A police helicopter with a powerful public address system
hovered over the area, calling upon residents to evacuate
their homes. They were also asked to open their windows, so
that in the event of an explosion, damage would be
minimized. The residents cooperated and left their homes
from back entrances leading to Chagai Street.
At eight in the evening, the stolen car was placed onto a
tow truck and transferred to the Ramot Forest, where the car
was detonated. The police closed all of the roads over which
the car passed. These roads remained closed for a long
Traffic was snarled throughout the city. It became almost
impossible to go from north to south or from south to north
for several hours. There were reports that a chosson
came very late for his own wedding because of the tie-
All roads leading to the forest were closed to traffic. "A
levaya for a car which is being taken on its final
journey," someone who had been saved from a severe disaster
joked, with a mixture of happiness and excitement.
No one attended the "levaya." All remained at the
site. After the removal of the bomb, remaining on the site
no longer constituted a safety problem. Before, it had
caused unnecessary inconvenience, for despite the great
restraint it displays under such circumstances, the chareidi
community -- as we have written countless numbers of times,
but must say again -- crowds the areas near terrorist
attacks (or impending-terrorist attacks), making it hard for
the police to do their work.
As if it wasn't enough that scores of thoroughfares in
Jerusalem were closed for many hours, masses of people
gathered in Kikar Shabbos after the bomb was removed, making
it impossible to reopen the road. (Students in educational
institutions who regularly finish their day at four or five
in the afternoon, had to remain in their classrooms until
seven.) It was impossible to make headway on the roads.
Commander of the Police Shlomo Aharonishki, Commander of the
Jerusalem Area Mickey Levi and senior officers in the
Jerusalem region remained on the scene throughout the many
hours in which efforts to deactivate the bomb took place.
Police commander Levi refused to describe the type of bomb
and its size. In addition, Levi said that police have
received warnings about attempts to bring bombs into areas
within the green line. He stressed once again that this case
is a good example of civilian alertness preventing a
disaster. The Jerusalem Police Department has issued a call
to all civilians to continue to be wary of suspicious
The inspector was able to ascertain quickly that the
suspicious car was stolen because of the hand-held computer
he carried. At a discussion about the purchasing of the
those data-terminals a number of weeks ago, the members the
city council were told that it connects the Municipal
computers to those of the Police, enabling the detection of
suspicious cars, a measure vital due to the security
situation in Jerusalem. Although the Meretz members in the
City Council opposed the plan, the Council approved the
initiative to purchase it.
Last week, it was clear that the new computer system was
instrumental in saving the lives of many people on Meah
The city parking inspector had recently taken a police-
sponsored course on how to identify suspicious objects as
potential bombs, especially parked cars. Police now plan to
repeat the program throughout the country with an emphasis
on training parking inspectors.
Internal Affairs Minister Uzi Landau praised the city
inspector for his outstanding alertness, and the sappers of
the Jerusalem Police Department for their expertise and
courage. "The successful teamwork of the Municipal
inspectors and the Jerusalem Police Department was achieved
as a result of the implementation of the lessons the Police
Department have derived from past occurrences. Thanks to
this teamwork, a terrorist attack was averted."
Defense Minister Binyamin ben Eliezer called the inspector
who discovered the mined car and praised him for his
But the behavior of the police was also baffling and
irritating. The police, for some reason, weren't interested
in seeing joyous dancing until the wee hours of the night,
and after the car was removed they tried to disperse the
thousands who overflowed Kikar Shabbos. To try? No, not just
to try, but to do so at all costs -- with force.
Eyewitnesses report that the moment it was decided to vacate
those who had assembled at the site, after the removal of
the bomb, the police acted with brutality, with horses and
scores of policemen. "I don't understand why it was
necessary to bring horses and large numbers of police to
disperse the curious throng. Couldn't they have politely
asked the people to move away and to clear the junction?
Instead, the officers decided to charge into the throng with
horses and riders," an eyewitness said with pain.
But this sorry occurrence didn't unduly affect the mood of
the throng. A short while later, many circles of dancers
were formed -- circles of ecstatic Jews, who know how to
thank HaKodosh Boruch Hu for His daily kindness to
us, and for the great miracle which occurred in the
neighborhood. "Tehei hasho'oh hazos, she'as rachamim
ve'eis rotzon milfonecho," the celebrants -- more than
ten thousand, it is estimated -- hoarsely sang to the
strains of an accompanying band.
"It is impossible to describe the great miracle which
occurred here. Everyone here at this moment, might have, at
this very same time, had to participate in the
levayos of victims, Rachmono litzlan. But
instead, we are participating in a celebration of those who
were saved by an enormous miracle from a dangerous bomb,"
one of the celebrants told Yated Ne'eman.
There was dancing in the streets and praise for Hashem until
around two in the morning.
Since the start of the Intifadah and except for one car
bombing in the Machane Yehuda open market, all attempted car
bombings in Jerusalem have been in the Meah Shearim area.
Security services are increasingly concerned that
Palestinian terrorist cells have accumulated large amounts
of explosives for car bombs. But they are also convinced
there are fewer "professionals" capable of preparing these
Residents near where the car was found said: "They placed
the bomb in our neighborhood, but it didn't explode, because
Torah protects and saves. This is the fourth time in which a
bomb was placed in our neighborhood and nothing happened.
It's all Hashgocho protis. Shomayim wants to arouse
us to do teshuva..
The first attempted attack on Meah Shearim Street took place
at almost precisely at the same place nearly 14 years ago.
It was erev Succos. Thousands of people crowded the
arba minim market, which was jam-packed. Suddenly, a
suspicious car was discovered and in moments the entire
street was evacuated and the bomb deactivated. (Then it was
harder to vacate the street, because it was filled with
thousands of people.)
Soon we will recite, "Vehi she'omdo la'avoseinu velonu .
. . veHaKodosh Boruch Hu matzileinu miyodom" at the
Seder. A few days before rosh chodesh Nisan,
which recalls the great miracles -- nissim -- which
occurred to the Jewish Nation during that month, we have
been given a rousing reminder of Hashem's kindness in every
generation, and a prompting which should make us realize
that we have no one on whom to lean, except on Ovinu
shebaShomayim. A great miracle happened here. Boruch
she'osoh lonu ness bamokom hazeh.