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“We Won’t Forget”

Aharon Granot, Sarah Pardes, Shlomi Gil, Aharon Rubin, Yeruchem Yitzchak Landesman

A decade later, bereaved families and survivors remember the horror as the Number 2 bus was blown apart.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tuesday night, 22 Av 2003, 9:19 p.m.Shmuel HaNavi Street,Jerusalem. In 60 seconds, the lives of 22 Jews would be snuffed out.

The Number 2 bus lumbered along its route, over packed with Jews returning from the Kosel: mothers and children, teenage girls, bochurim and families taking advantage of bein hazmanim.

At the stop before the turn onto Shmuel HaNavi, no one paid attention to the Arab fromHebrondressed as a Jew with a big black yarmulke as he pressed into the crowd, his brain reviewing the glorious imaginary reward he would be getting in the next world.

The accordion bus navigated the traffic circle onShmuel HaNavi Street, and then — the explosion. Moments of black, of deathly silence, broken by the wailing of sirens, screams, and bedlam. Bodies flew in all directions, some burned beyond recognition. Dozens lay injured, blood and flesh all over the street. Strollers were scattered about as medics carried away children with blood-smeared faces.

Can a decade take the searing edge off the pain or dull the acute trauma of families whose lives were blasted apart together with the bus? Ten years after that harrowing, horror-filled night, Mishpacha spoke with the loved-ones of those 22 korbanos: What happened during those initial moments of shock? How did they deal with the excruciating aftermath? Does a decade of distance make waking up any easier?

 

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