The papers have been showing pictures of Israel around the time of the birth of the nation sixty years ago. When this particular bomb went off — the date was February 22, 1948 —we actually lived in Jerusalem on Ben Yehuda Street in a big apartment on a high floor above the Cinema Orion. Although I was only six I remember it vividly. The cinema was showing a Sabu film. This was exciting for my elder sister Lena and I, as we were allowed to see Sabu films, and knowing the proprietor we could go in freely.
Three car bombs exploded very early in the morning, probably around 6am. All the windows in our apartment blew in sending glass flying everywhere. What is it? “Bomba” we were told. Simon, my two-year-old brother was sleeping soundly in his cot the glass fell all over him but he was unhurt. His carer, Umm Aboud, had just woken up and was on her way to the kitchen to make herself the first stikan tchaii (glass of tea) of the day. The glass got embedded all over her chest and face and she had to be rushed to hospital. The proprietor of our building had just converted an apartment for himself in the semi-basement or first floor (I can’t remember which) and all the fresh masonry fell on top of him. He walked up to our floor covered in blood. I could see the apartments across the road where the block was sheared in half and some people were stuck in half a bedroom with no way out.
My Aunt Regina turned up in tears, mid-morning. She’d been searching for us for hours. The road was so unrecognisable she was losing hope. We spent the day sweeping up glass. When night fell we could see the firing all around us, it looked so pretty, like fireworks — but I was told it was the Hagganah fighting back. My parents hung blankets over the glassless windows for the night. — Mira