Stairs to Jerusalem’s Old City to be named for police heroines murdered there

Hadas Malka and Hadar Cohen were killed by Palestinian terrorists in separate attacks near Damascus Gate.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Jerusalem’s Names Committee announced on Tuesday that it has decided to call the stairs leading into Damascus Gate of the Old City in memory of two Border Policewomen who died in recent years while trying to prevent terror attacks in the immediate area.

Lance Corporal Hadar Cohen was killed in February 2016 while protecting a colleague who was being attacked by a terrorist.

Just two months into her service and still a trainee, the 19-year-old was part of a three-member squad that stopped two suspects near Damascus Gate and asked to see their ID cards. One began stabbing a member of the unit, and Cohen managed to shoot him, thereby saving her friend’s life. A previously unnoticed third terrorist then opened fire, mortally wounding Cohen.

Staff Sergeant Hadas Malka was on patrol in July 2017 when her unit heard shots and a report of a terror attack in progress near Damascus Gate. As the unit prepared to run to the site, a terrorist jumped Malka and stabbed her to death before being killed by her fellow policemen.

The Names Committee decided to call the set of stairs Ma’alot Hadas V’Hadar – Hadas and Hadar’s Steps – using a word in Hebrew which means not only stairs but also rising higher.

Malka’s father, David, reacted soberly to the news.

“The decision to name the street after our precious daughter is more important on the public and social levels than personally,” he said, explaining that the move “is a message to society in general and the youth in particular about the importance of proper social values.”

David spoke, as well, of his daughter’s attachment to the Israeli capital.

“Hadas believed with all her heart [that] if we don’t protect Jerusalem, we won’t have a state,” the father said, thanking the municipality for this “act of thanks, recognition, and appreciation for Hadas.”

City Council member Dan Illouz, who actively supported the proposal initiated by Betzalmo, an Israeli human rights organization, pointed out the importance of the location chosen to honor the two heroines.

“It is also poignant that the very act of determining a name for this spot strengthens our ties to precisely the places that terrorists, such as those who killed Hadar and Hadas, seek to expel us from,” he said.

Other terror victims connected to the Old City that the Names Committee decided to pay tribute to are Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aaron Bennett.

A knife-wielding Arab had leaped on Bennett in 2015 as he walked to the Western Wall with his wife and two-year-old and baby. Lavi, a reserve officer who lived nearby, saw the attack unfold and waded into the fight. Both died of the stab wounds they sustained. A square in the Old City will be named Kikar HaGevura (Heroes Square) in their honor.