Ra’anana, a city of 80,000 in Israel’s central Sharon region known for its clean streets, quality education system and large English-speaking community, experienced two Palestinian terrorist attacks on Tuesday morning. And its citizens are responding with trepidation.
The closing of some stores on the city’s main street, Ahuza, was one reaction to the stabbing attacks, one of which occurred at around 8:50 a.m., and the other at 10:30. Parents of pre-schoolers, too, became concerned and ran to kindergartens to take their children home.
“We are aware of the reality [in the country],” a shop-owner who witnessed the first attack, at a nearby bus stop told Walla. “But when it comes close to you, it’s unpleasant and scary. We always thought that this would only happen in Jerusalem; we didn’t believe Ra’anana would become a terror-struck city.”
At a municipal kindergarten nearby, a teacher’s assistant told nrg that she has been constantly checking the window to see who is outside. “One of the mothers phoned and said she was coming to pick up her child,” she said. “She’s right; there is no security guard.”
Within minutes, the mother in question arrived at the school to collect her son. “Of course it’s nerve-wracking,” she told Walla. “Ra’anana is [normally] a calm city.”
Unlike the attacks in Jerusalem during the same hours — which left 3 dead and dozens wounded, some critically — those in Ra’anana resulted “only” in the light-to-moderate wounding of 3 people. But residents of the Holy City are more used to living with violence or the threat of it, due to the delicate population balance and Temple Mount controversies.
A restaurant owner in the area of the second attack in Ra’anana, which took place across from the Loewenstein Rehabilitation Hospital, said it’s the first time his establishment has been so empty. He also claimed his fellow restaurateurs are experiencing the same phenomenon, because “people are afraid to leave their houses.”
“Even during Operation Protective Edge [last summer’s war in Gaza, when Hamas rockets were launched into the center of Israel on a daily basis] it wasn’t this deserted,” he said.