Loud Explosions Throughout Yerushalayim as Arab Teens Celebrate

YERUSHALAYIM -
A man releases fireworks during celebrations in Gaza City in 2017. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem)

Police on Thursday received hundreds of calls from panicked residents of Yerushalayim who live near Arab neighborhoods, along with people who went to daven at the Kosel, over a long series of loud explosions heard throughout neighborhoods including Armon Hanatziv, Pisgat Ze’ev, Maale Hazeitim and others. The explosions weren’t due to a massive series of terror attacks, R”l – but were part of fireworks “celebrations” by Arab teens who did well on their matriculation exams, Channel 20 reported.

Channel 20 said that police received more than 800 calls about the noise Thursday morning. Several Arabs who were found carrying large amounts of fireworks in their vehicles were arrested, while several others caught in the act were detained as well, police said.

While noise from fireworks is a regular feature of life in many Yerushalayim neighborhoods – fireworks are a popular method of celebration at Arab weddings – the confluence of what sounded like dozens of explosions all coming at the same time prompted many residents of affected neighborhoods to call the police. Channel 20 quoted people at the Kosel as saying that the explosions made it almost impossible to daven, while many thought that a war was beginning.

The channel quoted an Arab resident as saying that the explosions were from fireworks “over the results of the ‘Tujia,’ the matriculation tests in the schools in eastern Yerushalayim. This is likely to go on throughout the weekend. Many of us don’t like this because it is dangerous and we know it bothers our neighbors.”