After stabbing, determined shoppers return to Rami Levy supermarket

Everyone knew that Dec. 4 wasn’t the usual Thursday night at the Rami Levy supermarket in the West Bank east of Jerusalem. The customers knew, and the workers knew. There were still people pushing their carts through the parking lot with groceries in the distinctive pink Rami Levy bags, but everyone could see the place was uncommonly low on shoppers stocking up for Shabbat.

In fact, there was room aplenty to maneuver a shopping cart through the grapefruit and pepper aisles of the supermarket in the Mishor Adumim Industrial Park, where an Arab teenager from Jerusalem had stabbed two men the day before. The lines for the butcher counter and the checkout line were short.

In the wine aisle, Edda Weisberg of Ma’aleh Adumim was shopping with her daughter, who was “a little nervous,” Weisberg said, “but I told her we have to keep going.”

A wall-mounted camera captured the Dec. 5 stabbing attack at a Rami Levy supermarket

This push to “keep going” echoed among all the shoppers interviewed the night of Dec. 4 at the supermarket close to the bustling metropolis of Ma’aleh Adumim, which is home to about 45,000 Israelis. The town is a 25-minute bus ride from downtown Jerusalem.

“We’re not afraid at all,” said Chen Gavra-Refaeli of the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood of Jerusalem, who was selecting lemons in the produce section. “We believe that our enemies want us to stay away, that they want to shut us down, and we can’t let the­m,” she said.

“After yesterday we are just a little more careful than we would have been, more alert to our surroundings,” Rivkah Lambert Adler of Ma’aleh Adumim said as she loaded her groceries on the conveyor belt, “but it also never occurred to us not to come.”

The 16-year-old Palestinian terrorist had walked by the security guard in the supermarket branch a little after 4 p.m. on Dec. 3 and made his way to the back of the store, where he stabbed two men. Both victims were hospitalized.

One of the victims, a paramedic, called for help while bleeding from his hand and head. The attacker, who had been shot in the leg by an off-duty security guard from the Prime Minister’s Office and had been held down by customers until the police arrived, was also hospitalized.

The Rami Levy supermarket chain, which is the third-largest grocery chain in Israel and a pioneer of discounted shopping, has long been held up as a model of cooperation between Jews and Muslims. The chain has a long history of welcoming Arabs from surrounding towns as both customers and employees.

When the owner of the chain, Rami Levy himself, arrived on the scene of the terror attack, he said that the terrorists had attempted to destroy a place of coexistence between the two peoples.

“I won’t let them succeed,” Levy said.

Store employee Mahmoud Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian whose cousin Mohammed Abu Khdeir was killed this summer in the Jerusalem forest in apparent retaliation for the murder of three kidnapped Israeli teens, was one of the first to help those wounded in the attack.

Rushing to the floor from the storeroom, where he was working, he helped stop the bleeding on an injured man’s head and got him upstairs to an office for further treatment.

“That’s how I was taught to behave by my family,” Abu Khdeir told Ynet. “When someone is wounded, you help them. It doesn’t matter where they’re from.”

He added: “I believe that tomorrow the wounded man will see someone else and go help him. I hope that one day the situation will change and we will no longer have incidents such as this. But force brings more force, and peace brings peace.”


A wall-mounted camera captured the Dec. 5 stabbing attack at a Rami Levy supermarket