Less than a day after a deadly terror attack at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv claimed the lives of four Israelis, people have begun heading back to the shopping center.
“There were no visible bullet holes, no broken glass, no blood stains or police tape to be seen, the terror attack already cleaned up and pushed to the side in a classic example of stubborn Israel insistence to return to normal after sudden and deadly tragedy,” The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.
Tal Sharabi, a waiter at Benedict, one of the restaurants that was attacked Wednesday night, spent much of the night helping to clean up the scene so that things would look more presentable the following morning.
“It’s a terrible feeling, in one of the videos you see one of our customers, who just a moment earlier was talking to us, and he’s shot dead, and they [the terrorists] shoot him again to confirm the kill,” Sharabi told the Post. But he added that returning to normal so quickly after such a terrible event is essential: “It’s strange but we live this every day already, we can’t put our lives on hold. We must do this; we can’t let terrorists stop our lives.”
Margalit Bergman who was eating at Benedict with a group of friends when the terror attack started, returned on Thursday to help her overcome the trauma she experienced. The terrorists, two cousins from Hebron, were dressed in nice suits and ties, looking to Bergman like “foreign businessmen.” Before she and her friends had a chance to order, she recalled, “We heard one shot and then they [the gunmen] stood up and started shooting at everyone, we ran the other way as fast as we could, but it’s all luck, it’s all fate that I’m still alive.”
Rivka Yanai, who lives nearby, took her granddaughter to meet with her son who works at Sarona. “This is how it needs to be, people coming back, going on with their daily lives,” she said. “I feel sadness, but not fear.”
“This is our life,” Charles Peguine, who grew up in Belgium and owns a tea shop in the market, told the Times of Israel. “Unfortunately four people died; but there haven’t been fewer customers today. We are used to this.” Dmitri, a father from Moscow who immigrated to Israel three months ago, told the Times that the attack was a reminder that “even though we can’t escape this reality, we have to keep living. Life is beautiful and we must live it.”
Ukranian singer Svetlina Solomina posted pictures to Instagram along with a caption that read, “Guys, Sarona market is alive more than ever. Not to mention that it is the most safe place in Tel Aviv today with all those police and security. Max Brenner is full of people. A lot of cameras here. Heard that people are coming from other cities just to support the Sarona. I am falling in love with israelis every day deeper and deeper. We are one big family.”
A number of Israeli politicians also made their way to Sarona on Thursday, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, President Reuven Rivlin, opposition leader Isaac Herzog, Zionist Union MKs Shelly Yechomovich and Tzipi Livni, and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
Also appearing was Australian Ambassador to Israel David Sharma, who brought his whole embassy staff to the shopping center in a show of support.
— Dave Sharma (@AusAmbIsrael) June 9, 2016
— Yael Wissner-Levy (@yaelwiss) June 9, 2016
Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, arrived at Sarona on Thursday after refusing to cancel a previously planned lunch there. “Terrorist groups seek to destroy the normal life of free society; we defy them by embracing life,” he tweeted.
I have to say it was inspiring to see so many young Israelis who came to pay their respects to the victims, to light candles, bring bouquets of flowers, and sing songs of peace. So long as Palestinians teach their children to murder Jews, and so long as their hatred is legitimized by UN bodies like UNRWA and the UNHRC, terrorism will never stop. Yet so long as Israeli society can raise a generation of young men and women like those I saw today—and embrace the values of life, peace, tolerance, education, science, culture, spirituality, innovation and creativity—the children of light will prevail.
Why I had lunch today at Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, and what I saw. pic.twitter.com/TaeEiA6BcY
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) June 9, 2016
[Photo: Miriam Alster / Flash90 ]