- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2002

JERUSALEM Tables were full at Cafe Caffit in the trendy German Colony, even though a waiter and a security guard recently wrestled a suicide bomber to the ground before he could push the button and blow up the cafe.
Now an armed guard with a scanner asks everyone, "Are you carrying a weapon?" In some cafes, the owners have posted signs saying they are adding a shekel and a half about 30 cents to each bill to pay for security guards.
The contradiction between living the good life and living with imperfect security amid a wave of terrorist attacks has failed to intimidate Israelis, long accustomed to fighting for survival.
A day after a bomber blew himself up in a Petach Tikvah mall near Tel Aviv, killing a grandmother and her grandchild and wounding many children, Israelis filled outdoor cafes and restaurants, exposed to passing cars and buses, as if daring anyone to stop them.
"They won't prevent me from coming here this is our country I come here to demonstrate that," said David Elbaz, 18, at Cafe Rimon in central Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, a favorite target of suicide bombers.
"I was here in December when my friend died at that restaurant," he said, pointing down the street.
A girl sitting at the same table with several young men about to begin their compulsory military service added: "I am not afraid. This is our home."
But if not exactly fear, there is a chilly realization that there could be an attack any moment.
Roughly 500 Israelis have been killed by the Palestinian intifada or uprising, but Israelis know more people have died from traffic accidents in the past 19 months.
One doesn't stop driving because of highway deaths, and one doesn't stop enjoying life because of suicide bombs, they say. But Israelis have changed in many ways.
Omer Ori, 23, was recently handing out leaflets at Hebrew University, calling for students to join Taayush, a group that he said is "against occupation, against racism."
While the rise in Palestinian violence from rock throwing to suicide bombings initially pushed many Israelis to the right, Mr. Ori says it inspired him to seek peace with the Arabs.
"I myself became more radical [or left wing] after the intifada began," he said, even though his family is "right wing" and lived until recently in a settlement in the West Bank.
"When we get together for Passover, we don't talk about my activities they joke about it."
But even this peace activist fears that "the Palestinians want to push us into the sea. People are afraid. They really don't enjoy life so much. They look for a place to escape. They stay home."
Mr. Elbaz reacted differently to the intifada.
"I have become more suspicious and more to the extreme right," he said, speaking the fluent French his parents brought with them from Algeria when they fled as refugees to Israel. "I always thought there was no chance of peace anyhow."
A friend of his chimed in, "Transfer [of the Palestinians to Jordan] is the only chance." That most hawkish view is held by perhaps 15 percent of Israelis.
Einat Abrahami, a student interviewed at the Hebrew University library, said she was "ashamed at what we are doing" to the Palestinians, but "it's very hard to be left wing" during the intifada.
She escapes much of the fear of the suicide bombings because she attends university in the still peaceful southern city of Beersheva, but she said she was "very afraid for my parents who live in central Jerusalem. I tell them not to take the bus, not to go out to cafes and restaurants."
To cope with the fear of bus bombings, she takes only nonstop buses from the main station in Jerusalem, where passengers and luggage are screened, to her college.
Noah Yanai, 29, said the violence has made him "fatalistic people drift to the idea there is no solution."
"Before it seemed like things were getting better," said the unemployed computer programmer. "But now I feel there is something inherently wrong on the inside on both sides. The settlements are not being dealt with at all."
Many Israelis have gotten over the initial shock of being under attack in their cities and are inventing rules to increase safety. They go to cafes that have already been bombed, reasoning that bombers don't strike twice in the same place.
Crowds still gather at Sbarro's pizza restaurant in central Jerusalem, where one of the bloodiest suicide bombings took place. With security measures such as glass-wall enclosures and a guard at the entrance, Sbarro's still attracts customers.
The Ha'aretz daily recently ran a list of rules for survival, such as using taxis instead of buses, avoiding the back of the bus if you must use one, and avoiding busy streets at peak hours.
Still, thousands of shoppers crowded the stalls and the surrounding streets at the Mahane Yehuda market, where a suicide bomber killed several people during Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's recent visit.

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