Passengers who took the Egged Line 101 bus in Jerusalem Thursday morning were treated contemptuously by their driver, an Arab from eastern Jerusalem, who refused to stop the bus in honor of the Holocaust Remembrance Day memorial siren – and insisted on leaving the radio on, as he listened to Arabic music.
The bus was taking the passengers from Har Nof to the Shapirim Parking Lot when the 10 a.m. siren was about to sound, as it does every year on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Instead of stopping the bus and allowing passengers to stand in honor of the millions who were murdered by the Nazis, he drove on.
"When it was 10 and the siren was sounded throughout the land, the driver kept on talking as if nothing had happened,” Aviad – one of the passengers – told Channel 2 Online news. “The passengers asked the driver to stop at the side of the road, but the driver refused. Instead, he played Arabic songs.”
The passengers asked him to at least turn off the music or switch to a radio station that sounded the siren.
“He refused and answered that he would not stop and would not turn off the radio,” Aviad continued. “He said that he wanted to listen to music right now.”
The driver refused to give passengers his personal details. “I am a soldier and this felt very demeaning,” Aviad said. “Even if he is an Arab, he needs to behave differently and be considerate of the passengers. Certainly not to play loud songs and keep driving and say he doesn't care.”
The Director of Egged Transportation, Gideon Mizrahi, told Channel 2 Online: “We view this incident with great severity and we are checking the facts. If it turns out that they are true, we we will respond very harshly. If it happened, we apologize profusely before the passengers.”