Ben Yehuda Street returns to some semblance of order Shops reopened, repairs made, memorial erected

September 06, 1997|By Ann LoLordo | Ann LoLordo,SUN FOREIGN STAFF

JERUSALEM -- As the families of the slain Israeli soldiers were burying their sons, merchants on Ben Yehuda Street reopened their shops and cafes yesterday. The street had been scrubbed clean of blood. Storefront glass had been replaced and outdoor cafe furniture set up.

Flower shops placed their usual array of offerings outside. Buckets of sunflowers, roses, carnations and gladioli added a festive splash of color on a pedestrian promenade that 24 hours before had been a corridor of death.

Cafe patrons sat outdoors, sipping coffee. Shoppers strolled, and mourners erected a memorial of candles and flower bouquets outside one bombing site.

The Atara Cafe, a Jerusalem landmark for nearly 60 years, opened for business at its regular time.

It was the site of the first Ben Yehuda Street bombing, a blast in 1948 that killed the restaurant's manager. A photograph of the attack on Feb. 22, 1948, hangs on a back wall of the cafe, the site of the damaged restaurant marked in pencil.

Then, as now, the Atara reopened for business within 24 hours.

Owner Uzi Greenspan said his staff worked through the night to get the restaurant ready for customers yesterday.

His employees arrived on time, "even the [Arab] workers from East Jerusalem -- none of them is missing."

Greenspan said he never thought about closing the restaurant after Thursday's suicide bombings, which injured an Atara employee.

"We don't forget what happened [Thursday]. But we believe we tTC have to continue with life, as far as possible, regularly," said the 53-year-old restaurateur, the third generation of Greenspans running the Atara.

"The terrorists, they want to try to stop our life. If we give them the answer that we will continue, it's better for everyone."

Pub Date: 9/06/97

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