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Public transport in Arab crosshairs, passengers paralyzed with ‘built-in fear’

Illustrative: Shattered bus window. (Flash 90 / Sraya Diamant).

An Arab on the bus pulled out a pocketknife and made threatening gestures at Jewish passengers, witness says.

Bedouin Arabs who hold Israeli citizenship have been targeting public transportation in recent days, hurling rocks at buses and attempting to derail trains in the southern Negev desert.

Hebrew-language media reports have also noted an uptick in threatening and abusive behavior by Israeli Arabs on buses, who are acting aggressively to Jewish passengers and bus drivers.

“From the moment we got on the bus, a group of Arabs started smoking cigarettes, blasting Arabic music at a high volume, and screeching,” a woman told Kikar HaShabbat, speaking about a Monday evening bus ride from Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh.

The woman said that none of the passengers on the bus said anything to the group about their behavior “because of the built-in fear.”

Suddenly, the woman recalled, one of the men pulled out a pocket knife and started walking around the bus, making threatening gestures at the passengers as though he was going to stab them.

“We called the police to report a life-threatening emergency, but the police did not bother to come because nobody had been stabbed yet,” she said.

“The [Arab] chutzpah knows no bounds, and there’s no answer [from the Israeli authorities].”

On Tuesday afternoon, a group of Bedouin teenagers threw rocks at a bus traveling at high speed in between the southern cities of Dimona and Beersheba, shattering a side window.

Israeli police said they arrested a 16-year-old in the unrecognized Bedouin village Abu Talal several hours later.

Just two days earlier, on Sunday evening, Israeli police said in a statement that Bedouin from the Negev town of Tirabin al-Sana “barricaded” and “blocked” nearby train tracks with rocks.

The rocks could potentially cause the train to derail and trigger a deadly, multi-casualty accident.

The issue of Bedouin targeting public transportation is well-known to Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli and Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, who promised months ago to prioritize the safety of public transport employees and their passengers.

“Throwing stones at vehicles is terrorism for all intents and purposes, especially when it comes to mass transportation and any damage to it can cost many lives,” read a December 2021 statement from the pair, echoing sentiments expressed by the Egged bus company.

(World Israel News).

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