Solomon Natar

Tractors and gun control

Last week in Jerusalem a man driving a rather large tractor deliberately hit a random Jew walking along the street, and proceeded to knock over a bus full of passengers. Though I usually refrain from watching graphic videos of carnage in the Middle East, this clip in my newsfeed started playing by itself and I unfortunately got to see the tractor ram into the bus, then a man with a motorcycle helmet comes and shoots the man in the tractor who proceeded to slouch forward out of the tractor. He was wearing jeans and a black t-shirt, and looked young and athletic.

This wasn’t the first time a man driving a tractor tried to kill Jews in Jerusalem, while yelling Allah is great. The first time, a few years back, it was confusing. My brother happened to have witnessed that precedent on Jaffa street. From across the street he watched this tractor driving against traffic and smashing small vehicles, but nobody realized it was a terrorist attack. Eventually, Israelis with guns shot and killed the man in the tractor. Actually what I remember most is the intense argument that ensued on my brother’s Facebook page, as to whether or not the perpetrator should be coined a “terrorist” or just a murderer. Maybe he had a bad day and lost it?

So yesterday in the city center as I went with some friends to buy a sandwich, the four of us crossed a cross-walk. A car halted before us, and behind it was a massive yellow tractor. The driver’s compartment was kind of hidden way back up there, and you couldn’t really see the man inside. We all hesitated, then crossed and chuckled. We all had the same exact thought, something like, look out for that damn tractor. Alas, only in Jerusalem is a tractor a high security threat. I also thought, that that man up there should be careful. What if he accidentally bumped the car in front of him? He must be terrified. I also thought, that to actually shoot the guy in there would be quite difficult, since he is way back up there, especially if his huge shovel-thing was swinging dangerously at you. Mind the tractors!

Anyways, in Israel, when someone tries to murder people, he/she will be dead within a matter of seconds. Here, there are people everywhere with guns who are not afraid to use them. Israel might be a unique case where gun control can function properly, given that so many trained security personnel roam the streets. And that is why Jerusalem is the safest place in the world, where even when something bad happens, it is contained. Blessed shall you be in the city.

About the Author
Natar has an MA in Jewish Thought from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He likes to read and write about politics, Jerusalem and messianism.
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