EXCLUSIVE – Pub Attack Bursts Tel Aviv Bubble Mentality… For Now

Jerusalem: Tensions And Rituals In A Divided City
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TEL AVIV – Two days after a shooting attack in Tel Aviv, the city is on edge as residents struggle to come to terms with what happened. 

Sariba Feinstein, a 25-year-old new immigrant from the US, told Breibart Jerusalem that despite the attitude of many residents, who believe they live in a bubble, the city is not immune to terror.

“The State of Tel Aviv just figured out it’s still a part of the State of Israel,” said the Iowa native, using the city’s tongue-in-cheek moniker.

Feinstein, who is currently serving in the IDF, noted that Nashat Melhem, the terrorist responsible for the attack that killed two people and wounded several others, was still at large.

“[It] reminded me of the Boston Marathon bombings when the city was in lockdown and everyone stayed home while they were hunting for him,” Feinstein told Breibart Jerusalem. “Except I don’t think most people stayed home [in Tel Aviv].”

Residents of Tel Aviv, or Tel Avivians, have a reputation for not letting anything – even terror – affect their lives. During last year’s war with Hamas when rockets were fired daily at the city, Tel Avivians continued to go out to bars and restaurants.

“We won’t let some terrorist control our right to enjoy life and party,” said Raphael Dagan, a 26-year-old resident of Jaffa. “It’s sad that the Simta [the bar where the shooting took place] has had to shut its doors, but all the other pubs on the street are still humming with activity.”

Keren Love, who flew back to Israel from the US on December 30, never imagined that terror would hit so close to home. “I live just blocks away and I had been to the bank on Gordon and Ben Yehuda [Streets] just that morning before the shooting,” said Love. “Tel Avivis have been spared the violence that the rest of Israel has been suffering through. The reality of violence has come close to home after years of quiet. I am more cautious as an Olah [new immigrant], mainly because I didn’t grow up here.”

Commenting on the effect that Operation Protective Edge had on her, Love said, “I think I felt less nervous through the war last summer, because the missiles were being taken care of by the Iron Dome. This attack was right in my face; it felt like a more personal invasion of my safety. While Israelis are resilient, those of us that have immigrated and have been sheltered from violence are definitely affected.”

Nevertheless, concluded Love, “I still love Israel, and I am not running.”