This morning, two women at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron refused to have their bags searched at the security checkpoint, according to the Jerusalem Post.
There was a very good reason; they had knives. Before being taken into custody by police, they began shouting "We came to liberate Palestine." On Sunday, another Palestinian woman attempted a knife attack at the Cave’s entrance. She was shot and killed.
These incidents have created mounting tension in the region, with Israelis lining up for firearm permits since the Israeli government loosened restrictions on the application process. At the same time, they’re stocking up on whatever they can find for self-defense against these knife attacks. Even Israeli mothers, and their children, are signing up for self-defense classes, while arming themselves with firearms, rolling pins, and frying pans, according to the Daily Mail:
With the stabbings becoming ever more random and indiscriminate, mothers and children are enrolling in self-defense classes, where they are taught how to protect themselves should a knife-attacker suddenly strike as they go shopping or walk to school.
Those civilians with firearm licenses are dusting down their guns and stocking up on ammunition.
Those without are concealing any makeshift weapon they can find — hammers, bats, screwdrivers, umbrellas and even selfie sticks — beneath their clothing before leaving home.
There has also been a rush to buy pepper sprays, as I saw at a combat equipment shop called Defense, in the heart of Jerusalem’s tourist district.
‘When it rains, people always buy umbrellas,’ shrugged a sales assistant at the shop, before selling another £18 spray, with a range of 10ft. His latest customer was Joshua Cross, 17, a Jew from Gibraltar holidaying in Israel.
Why did Joshua feel the need for the device? ‘I’m slightly paranoid,’ he said. ‘The streets have become noticeably quieter since we arrived, and I just feel things are about to happen.
‘Having said that, I took a selfie by the Arab souk [market], just to show my friends that no matter what might happen, I’m still here and showing my solidarity for Israel.’
Harbouring similar fears, others are relying on less obvious weapons. One man was reportedly seen boarding a bus with a frying-pan tucked in his belt.
But Molly Livingstone, 32, whose Jerusalem apartment lies close to the scene of the number 78-bus attack (in which two young Palestinians killed two and wounded ten others before being shot dead by security services), prefers to carry a rolling pin in her handbag.
‘I wanted to buy a Taser, but they are illegal so I keep this by me,’ said the American Jew, the mother of two young children. ‘If anyone attacked me I would thrust it into their b***s. But then, I guess they don’t have any.
‘I moved here ten years ago from Boston, at the end of the second intifada, and I saw a few bombings. But this is worse. There’s so much more hatred under the surface. There is this constant feeling of fear, mistrust and trepidation.’