[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July 2005, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Israelis on living with bombers
Police officers gather bodies in front of a destroyed bus at the scene of a suicide bombing in the Israeli city of Beersheba in August, 2004
Many Israelis have learnt to live with the threat of suicide bombings
Britain is adjusting to the news that four of its own citizens carried out suicide bomb attacks on London's transport network last Thursday - the first attacks of their kind on British soil.

In the wake of the London bombings, the BBC News website received a large number of emails from Israelis, who spoke of their familiarity with suicide attacks.

Here some of them describe their own experiences and how they deal with the threat of suicide bombings.

Daniel Aschheim is a 17-year-old from Jerusalem

I have spent my entire teenage years living with these kind of attacks.

At the height of the current wave of violence in 2002, bus bombings and attacks became routine.

I have been very close to some bombings which occurred in my neighbourhood - Abu Tor - between my house and my school, although I have not witnessed one directly.

They say every Israeli knows someone who has been killed or injured in a suicide bombing.

Daniel Aschheim (L) and friend
Daniel says he is a 'normal teenager living in abnormal conditions'
This is certainly true. I know many kids in my school who themselves have been injured or whose friends have been killed in suicide attacks.

A boyfriend of a girl in my class was killed in a suicide attack and my brother's best friend was also killed in a similar bombing.

I have seen kids in my class coming into school with horrified looks on their faces after witnessing a bus bombing.

The arguments I have with my parents are not the normal kind of arguments teenagers in many other countries have with their parents.

We have security guards everywhere - in cafes, on buses, everywhere
We argue about whether or not I should take the bus, or even leave the house, for fear that I might be killed.

We are normal teenagers living in abnormal conditions.

But you have to get on with it and you have to take the bus if you have no other way of getting around.

We also have security guards everywhere. This is also something you get accustomed to - security guards in cafes, on buses, everywhere.

I am not surprised these attacks happened in London. There is no country now that is not vulnerable to terrorism.

We feel London is part of us now, like New York was when it was attacked.

I feel very hurt by this bombing. But now Londoners can see that this is a global problem and not just something we suffer from.

Roy Sage, 39, from Tel Aviv, was in London during attacks

I was in Covent Garden in London's city centre on Thursday when the blasts happened.

For the first couple of hours, people didn't quite know what to do. There was a real sense of confusion.

What I found very strange was how the city became very empty very quickly.

Bombed Number 30 bus in Tavistock Square, London
The familiar site of bus bombings in Israel came to London on 7 July
Everyone seemed to just abandon what they were doing and go home.

If we did that in Israel we would never get anything done. We are that accustomed to attacks occurring.

However, I was very impressed with the way London got back to normal on Friday.

It was good to see people back on the streets, on the public transport system and generally going about their business.

We live with the threat of suicide bombs in Israel constantly.

You always know when you look out the window and see the smoke that another suicide bomb has just exploded.

A secretary who works here was killed in a bombing at a nightclub in February.

You can't stay at home, you have to get on with it
Unfortunately it is just part of life here.

But you can't stay at home, you have to get on with it.

You have to accept it as one of the risks.

In the case of London, it seems it was just a matter of time until something like this happened because there is no basic security on the trains and buses.

People in London should not now change their plans, however. They should try to live life as normally as possible.

But they must also remain vigilant. Every Israeli knows that.

Mike Druttman, 54, from London, but lives near Tel Aviv

One feels here that everything is a question of timing and fate.

When is your number up? Nobody knows. It's a lottery.

Mike Druttman
Mike Druttman's daughter had a lucky escape from a suicide bomb
We get on with our daily lives, but always at the back of our minds is the fact that it could happen again tomorrow - to me, to you, to anyone.

About 16 months ago my eldest daughter was in her last year of high school.

She took an early morning train from the town next to ours.

She had just stepped onto the platform when there was a loud explosion behind her.

The suicide bomber had approached the station entrance and been stopped by the security guard, who was suspicious.

At that point he detonated his explosives.

Just two people died that day - the bomber and the security guard.

Had my daughter arrived at the station a minute later, she would have been approaching the entrance at the same time as the bomber, and probably would have been killed, or very badly hurt.

That affects your attitude - it brings it closer to home.

My daughter is now in the army. I gave her my small car, so that she does not have to use public transport.

Nothing will stop a determined suicide bomber from getting through - which creates a certain feeling of helplessness
Suicide bombers like to approach groups of young soldiers in uniform - male and female.

Many people still have to use public transport, so there is often a heightened feeling of security.

You pay more attention to the people around you. You certainly notice any packages left unattended.

But nothing will stop a determined suicide bomber from getting through - which creates a certain feeling of helplessness.

But the security presence here is reassuring.

There is a sharp difference between security in Israel and the UK - Israel is much smaller and so is able to invest in security resources to protect Israelis from attack.

There is always someone checking you here - it must seem a very striking security presence to any outsiders.

You can't walk into a shopping mall here, for instance, without your bag being checked.

On buses, you occasionally see security guards getting on and off.

But it would be very difficult to implement the same level of security in Britain or even London.

London Underground may decide to install magnetic security gates - but that will cause massive delays of course.

The fact that these terrorists are home-grown makes it even more terrifying.

In terms of preparedness for further suicide attacks, on a scale of one to ten I would put Israel at seven and Britain at three.


Your comments:

Although I appreciate the reason behind the telling of these stories and the connection there now appears to be between London and Israel, I feel uncomfortable that we are only hearing the one side of the whole picture. In remembering the sufferings of the Israelis we should also remember the sufferings of the Palestinians - and vice versa.
Karen, Southampton, England

Thank You for at last showing what Israel puts up with every day of her life.
Laura Conrad, Manchester
Thank You for at last showing what Israel puts up with every day of her life. Israel has endured more hardship in her short life than some countries in their entire lifetimes. No country should have to live in this fear and maybe in my life time, peace will come, but not when militants are still allowed to roam free.
Laura Conrad, Manchester, England

I have many Israeli friends and visit often. They have been dealing with the risk of bombings for a long time and, although checks are carried out at every mall, station and other public buildings, they have it down to a fine art, they are very efficient, not too intrusive and delays are minimal. We could learn a lot from their example.
Pamela Tiv, Hythe, UK

What is curious is that for many years Israel has been warning the west that the threat of terrorism they face was becoming more and more radicalised and that one day this would spread to other countries. Unfortunately we have just seen this happening.
Nuno Leitao, Reading, UK

What a sorry world young Israelis are inheriting to have to accept that living in fear is the norm. If only the architects of Israeli statehood had been wiser, kinder, and had treated Arab inhabitants of the region fairly, it would be a very different country today. Until old wrongs are righted, there is not much hope for security in that region, and young Israelis and Palestinians will have to continue to live in fear.
Carol Wilson, Olympia, WA, USA

What about the countless number of Palestinians that have to suffer with unclean water, loss of land, imposed curfews, house demolitions by Israeli tanks, and being forced to live in refugee camps? While Israelis are provided with all the amenities, they continue to oppress the Palestinian people.
Sophia, Orange County, CA, USA

The tragedy is London is yet again an instance of the West beginning to come to grips with the problems that plague other parts of the world. In college, I studied in Moscow and was a witness to some of the carnage that is perpetrated by terrorists worldwide. For the Russians, who are by no means accustomed to terrorism, recent suicide bombings and other atrocities have become a clear and present danger. I appreciate this article on the Israeli plight because much of the world has forgotten about the everyday struggles that occur against terrorism in some countries.
Jesse, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Terror is terror, no matter where it occurs, and terrorism is terrorism no matter whom it is directed at.
Freda Saul, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Mike Druttman says that installing magnetic security gates at underground stations would cause massive delays. It would also cost a lot of money. So what would people prefer - delays and higher fares (to cover the cost) or the risk of being blown up on a tube train? I know what my answer is. The authorities say that it is impossible to prevent suicide bombings on public transport - but it is possible if this country is prepared to invest money in more x-ray/security checks (like those at airports) at underground and train stations and even on buses - and installing these checks quickly. Does anyone object to the security/magnetic check at airports or the delays it causes? Personally, the more checks I go through before boarding a plane, the safer I feel.
Pauline, UK

I spent two years in Israel and lost two very good friends in a bus bombing. To see such attacks now in London, I feel that it will happen in Canada soon too, perhaps not tomorrow or next month, but it will happen. That is the sad fact of reality that faces us all now.
Manbir Banwait, Kitimat, Canada

As an Israeli-American, I share the same feelings as many of my Israeli colleagues regarding the attack on London - it was horrible, but life must go on. I remember the beginning of the massive attacks on busses, in 1995 or so. I was in high school, taking the bus every day. I was a soldier taking the bus every day three years later. I was living close to the green line (but safely within it) and working in Tel Aviv, and rode the potentially dangerous line every day, in 2000-2002. All I can say is - I had to go to work and I had to get back home. I've got to live somehow, right?
Michal Wright, CA, USA

I have every sympathy with your correspondents' comments on living with the threat of violence. However, none of them mentioned the daily violence inflicted on the Palestinian population - the collective punishments, the house demolitions, the land confiscations, the humiliations at the check points. Why is this? I sincerely hope that the massacre in London will open a debate that will address the causes of terrorism - wherever it may occur - and not just to the usual knee-jerk reaction that will result in the further erosion of civil liberties and the demonisation of the "others".
Martin Toch, Keighley, UK

I'm a Brit who left London to live in Jerusalem for two years and am just about to return to London. Now that mainstream Muslim leaders are clearly criticising suicide bombing, extremists will hopefully think twice before killing innocent people. It was the clear lack of such harsh condemnation in the UK of suicide bombings in Israel that allowed a situation where young Muslims could be turned into suicide bombing murderers in England.
Andy Kane, Jerusalem, Israel






FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific