Bnei Brak bus driver: 'I don’t know how I’m alive'
27 January 2021 - The jerusalem post
"For 15 minutes the police either could not or did not want to send a car – all the while one of the people rioting got onto the bus and began punching and kicking me."
"I don't know how I'm alive," Eyal Tzipori, the bus driver who was injured during riots in Bnei Brak on Sunday, told KAN Reshet Bet on Monday.
"The whole thing started around 11:40 p.m. when I left for the final line from Bnei Brak to Ashdod," he said. "I picked up about five people and continued along the route. In front of me, I saw a commotion of delinquents who were blocking the road, burning tires and trash cans, and I saw that I could not drive any further.
"I stopped and asked one of the passengers to go outside and help direct me out of the street. I thought we could drive in reverse and leave from the other side."
"I think about 50 people arrived and threw rocks and were breaking the doors and windshields. A woman in the back began screaming... I was speaking with the police while that was happening and asked them to send a police car.
"For 15 minutes, the police either could not or did not want to send a car, [and then] one of the people rioting got onto the bus and began punching and kicking me. I pushed him back, took my things out and put them in my bag. I went inside because glass was shattering all around me and then fell down and collapsed from the stress.
"Someone called Magen David Adom, which arrived quickly and rescued me, though I was deathly afraid to go out to get to them. I felt like [the rioters] wanted to take all their rage out on me."
The experience felt like being surrounded by lions that wanted to eat him, Tzipori said, adding that he would not return to driving for the time being.
"I am not at my best now," he said. "I just want to rest and see what comes next for me. I don't believe I will return to Bnei Brak. [It was] a very traumatic experience. I don't want to serve them."
The Koah LaOvdim labor union on Monday condemned the violence against several bus drivers during riots in several haredi (ultra-Orthodox) cities on Sunday, saying it has escalated since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
"We are shocked by the assault on the Afikim bus driver and the burning of the bus, as well as the assault against the Egged driver in Jerusalem," said Tom Promovitch, head of Koah LaOvdim's transportation branch. "These two events show an escalation of the violence against public transportation drivers. We will not agree that public protests will turn public transportation into a battlefield and the drivers into punching bags."
"As an organization that has drivers in the cities where violence is ongoing – Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and Bnei Brak – we will consider our future steps and are examining the option to cease service to those places," he said. "Sadly, only these preventive measures have proven themselves as effective solutions for the drivers."