Saturday, April 01, 2006

Life Here

Friday morning I read more about the terrorist attack I mentioned earlier. The terrorist dressed up as a religious Jew, hitched a ride outside of Kedumim and then blew himself up in the car, murdering a couple from Kedumim and two teenage hitchhikers.

While every terrorist attack is like a knife in the heart, this one had particular relevance for me. Aside from the fact that my husband is now directly helping to protect the residents of the area, I hitchhiked for 5 years. When I made aliya at the age of 14, my family first lived in Efrat, and then moved to a yishuv in the Modiin area. I went to a high school in Jerusalem, and the quickest way for me to get to school was to hitchhike while waiting for the bus. I quickly developed a system of who not to get into a car with, and always listened to my gut, which meant that I would get out of a car or pass up a tremp (as a ride is called in Hebrew) if I felt uncomfortable.

One memorable experience was when I was hitchhiking at the Shilat intersection and got into a car driven by a middle age man, along with two soldiers (I know, Mom, what was I thinking), who got off at a yishuv mid-way to Jerusalem. The remaining 25 minutes in the car was spent with the driver lecturing me for getting into a car with men, especially soldiers with guns, the danger I had put myself in as a vulnerable woman (I wasn't too thrilled with that one) and how lucky I was that someone like him had picked me up. Someone with daughters, who was not a maniac, yada yada yada. I got out chastened and while I still continued to hitchhike with all sorts of people, this particular ride represented something special. I live in a country where it's safe enough to get into a car with a complete stranger, a country where that complete stranger feels that he has the responsibility to lecture me on my safety. It gave me a sense of belonging, that this random Israeli man cared enough about me and my safety. Sure, I was annoyed at the time that he felt that he had the right to lecture me, but in retrospect it is a perfect example of all that is good in Israel.

The attack struck me in a place of vulnerability, as it was an attempt to destroy yet another layer of trust in the fabric of Israeli society. Life here has changed so much due to the violence, and I am so saddened that this honest and simple way of camraderie in Israeli life was targeted.

Shavua Tov


Blogger tafka PP said...

The horrible pigua aside, I'm not sure it was ever a safe practice. I used to hitch here as well, around where my family live, but was never quite relaxed about getting into cars with complete strangers.

Good post, dear. I've "rolled" you.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Joe Settler said...

The Arabs did a Dry-Test Run near Efrat on Friday. Read about it here:

9:31 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Aliza: The big problem is not only that it has become very dangerous for the hitchhikers, but also for those that pick them up. (as was the case on Thursday night).

In any event - glad your husband was helping out. Thursday night was a mess.

Shavua Tov!

The Muqata

10:17 AM  
Blogger Aliza said...

Jameel-I agree with you 100%, however the danger to drivers is not a new one. As a woman, I was always wary of picking up men, for there are horror stories abound of rape, kidnapping, etc. It upsets me that Israeli society is resembling more and more the Western societies it wishes to emulate, for good and for bad.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ALIZZAAA - great blog. Although I agree with the danger - I definately find comfort in what this means about our society. One of the posatives that we can all learn... one of the few unfortunately.

4:03 PM  

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