JERUSALEM (Dec. 3)
It isn’t the first time that Charlotte Rosensweig is sweeping up broken glass outside her store on Ben-Yehuda Street.
And it probably won’t be the last time, says her daughter, Etti Doron, who was busy tidying up her family’s stamp shop after the double suicide bombing here on Saturday night that killed at least 10 young Israelis.
“I’m not even sure why we go through this whole process,” Doron said, pointing out the new panes of glass in the storefront.
“It’s not like there are any tourists coming anyway.”
The streets of downtown Jerusalem were fairly quiet Monday afternoon, less than 48 hours after the two bombers blew themselves up in a crowd of teen-agers.
Most of the passers-by were stopping at two makeshift memorials on the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall, where dozens of memorial candles and flower wreaths commemorated the 10 young men.
Traditional black-and-white printed memorial flyers at the memorial listed the names of the victims, all but two of whom were from Jerusalem: Assaf Avitan, 15; Michael Moshe Dahan, 20; Israel Ya’akov Danino, 17; Yosef Elezra, 18; Sgt. Nir Heftzdi, 19; Yuri Korganov, 20, from Ma’aleh Adumim; Moshe Yedid Levy, 19; Golan Tourjeman, 15; Guy Vaknin, 19; and Adam Weinstein, 14, from Givon Hahadasha.
Avitan and Tourjeman were next-door neighbors.
“Guy, we’ll remember you forever,” read one hand-printed sign hanging from a lamppost.
Vaknin loved hanging out in Jerusalem’s city center, according to his friends and family.
Teen-agers gathered around the two memorial sites, some reading psalms, others weeping.
One boy ran to a nearby flower shop to buy a bunch of red-and-violet anemones, which he placed near a sign bearing his friend’s name.
Except for some shards of glass still littering the cobblestones, there were few remaining signs of the horrors of the Saturday night attack.
Most of the stores have already had their windows replaced. In one cell-phone store, a plasterer filled the holes in the ceiling, as other workmen repaired the shop’s shelves.
But the Sweet T-shirt store, just two doors down from the stamp shop, is still a gaping hole.
Everything, from the ceiling down to the floor has to be replaced, said Mayer Pruess, an employee who was standing outside the shop.
“They had to take it all out because it was full of blood, the suicide bomber’s blood,” he said.
The police told Pruess and his boss that the suicide bomber had the bomb strapped to his back, which was facing their shop. When he detonated himself, his body parts were blown into the store.
“I’ve never seen anything so horrible in my life,” said Pruess, who immigrated to Israel from South America. “The blood and the smell, the pieces of flesh scattered throughout the shop. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I can’t even explain in Spanish what the scene was like.”
For many of the store owners along Ben-Yehuda, the Saturday night attacks could mean the end of their business.
Stamp-shop owner Rosensweig, who has been in business since 1939, said this year was one of the worst in recent memory.
Pruess said his boss was probably going to close the T-shirt store because of the dearth of tourists.
“There haven’t been customers, and now there definitely won’t be any,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.
Meanwhile, life appeared to be returning to normal on nearby Rav Kook Street, where a car bomb was set off Saturday night, but claimed no victims.
Cabs and van services were driving in and out of the taxi stand, embarking on their usual routes around town.
“People still need to get places,” said one cabbie, who had a car full of passengers.
Meanwhile, soldiers and police swarmed the intersections and main streets of Jerusalem, keeping an eye out for any suspicious people.
They sat on the red and white construction barriers surrounding Zion Square, currently undergoing a major renovation.
“Life goes on,” said one policeman who was guarding Zion Square, located near the pedestrian mall. “Where else are the kids going to hang out, if not here?”