On the way home from a family Bat Mitzvah at the Binyamina Winery with Natan as our representative child, we got a call from my friend Karyn. "Where are you?" she inquired. We told her. "Don't come near Tzomet Ha'bankim," the corner of Rivka and Derekh Hevron, about 2 min by car from our house. "Why?" we ask. She tells us that they've closed off the streets entirely, due to a suspected terrorist/bomber at the Bank Bin'leumi (Ira's branch). Karyn is stuck at the grocery store a block away - she lives on the other side of Derekh Hevron, on Eyn Gedi, literally 3 minutes on foot but now, she can't get home and it is Friday and there is much to be done. She tells us that the area is closed to all traffic, pedestrian and vehicular on all sides and that there are police officers out in force as well as helicoptors flying overhead.
We turn the news on to find out what's up but we're a few minutes past the hour and catch the latter part of the news and something seems to be about what's happening in J'lem (we're about an hour or so out of town at this point, not far from sister Sarah) but it passes quickly and we're still not sure of the whole story. We call Jess and Daniel, in the car with my parents, and tell them to drive the long way back to their house, through East Talpiyot. Ira is pleased to discover that Jess doesn't immediatly know how to do this, even though he, Ira that is, does. We call Mona and Robert Henoch, our Brooklyn visitors of the week and tell them the same driving information. They'd already run into the traffic tieup on their way to the zoo and instead diverted to a park in a different part of town. Robert, in his military way, absorbs the information unflappably and knows the route we're describing (they're staying in East Talpiyot at friends of ours who rent out an apartment. No we didn't arrange it, they found it themselves and then we realized).
How to pick up the necessary stuff that we still need for Shabbat. It is after two and time's awasting and we've got to pick up some salads and veggies before stores close. Should we drive through town and go to the shuk and then find a way back to the house or venture closer in to Emek Refaim and Baka and hope that things will eventually clear up. We notice that the roadblock on the way out of J'lem into the territories is backed up with traffic and that the soldiers are examining each car as it leaves the city. We hear that they're looking for the drivers and coordinators of the bomb/bomber. We drive and analyze and spend a few minutes trying to find Galei Tzahal, the Army Radio station. I consider calling newphew Benjy who always knows what's up but remember that his Gen'l doesn't handle J'lem.
20 minutes or so later, Karyn calls back. Things have reopened. The story she heard is that a would be bomber entered the bank and somehow backed out of his/her action but until the bomb was detonated and things were cleared up safely, nobody could get through. We breathe a sigh of relief and head for Derekh Beit Lehem and do our shopping and go home.
Everyone talks about the event over Shabbat. Sometime late in the day, or maybe it was after Shabbat, the true story emerges. Can't remember the source. Would be bank robber tried to rob the bank. Just looked on Jpost for the story but can't find it and didn't bother with Ha'aretz. Just a little bit of local excitement.
6 hours ago