I have just finished a translated article from Ma’ariv, an Israeli newspaper, under the title of: Jewish young men strangers in their land. The article tries to wear the shoe of the radical settlers who commit crimes against Palestinians in the settlement. How abandoned these young people feel from their state that left them alone unprotected with the uncontrollable Palestinians.
It is extremely hard to sympathize with such a reading, humanizing such people, I thought. But somehow I had to retreat and think loud repeating to my memory what happened this morning.
I had a flat tire on the way to the university, and I found myself obliged to pull behind a boarder police vehicle. So many ideas and images roamed my mind in the moments before, thinking of how critical it could turn out. I could turn in a moment into a suspect and the next moment I could become the next terrorist. I was wearing a blouse with Palestinian embroidery, which was definitely not timely. I was looking around myself and thinking of how much suspicious do I look. If I became hot next “terrorist” what would they say they found incriminating in my car? My power juice bottle covered with sponge-bob to hide the word fuel that my daughter didn’t like.
Somewhere, I had to stop, there was no other option. Stopping on the side in any case will be suspicious. A month ago a woman who was shot with her infant in the back seat was a suspected terrorist who wanted to explode the soldiers when they stopped her on the same road. The Palestinian version was that the engine of the car exploded. The Israeli story was that she had explosives and she panicked when they stopped her.
The daily story of the ongoing murders we hear the Palestinian version of a knife that the Israelis threw on the crime scene to cover the murder. And a Palestinian story that denies the attempt of the stabbing.
I felt for that instant that the safest way to the end would be me stopping behind them. It is not that they got suspicious, and stopped me. I went to them on my own feet. Of course I also thought that they might think I am willing to ram them. Towards the end of the debate in my head I found myself stopping behind them.
A group of soldiers\police who usually stop on that area to catch or trap smuggling boys from the other side of the road. So in my head they were people that I already resented. There were many scenes of dragging young boys from their necks on that side of the road, which always felt degrading and oppressive.
The moment the soldier\police approached me; I quickly said that I think I have a problem with the tire. It was less than a moment that all the other four or five were surrounding the scene. At this very moment, a deep eye contact was established between the first one and me how came to check. Something inside me used this as the only rational tool to remove suspicion from what is originally a normal situation. He was very friendly, and he even offered to help me change the tire. I was debating with myself at that moment as the others were interfering and the discussion was increasing that my Hebrew would start exposing my non-Hebrew spoken language. I actually softly switched to English with the same tone I used before thinking, they must be like us enjoying integrating English with the sentences (which I know they are not) but I thought I would be the new Israeli generation who is cool to use English.
As we were having this strong in-depth eye communication, I couldn’t but have the scene of the woman who stabbed the security person last month hopping inside me like a monkey. There was that moment in that scene with that woman of pure human contact that she insisted to ignore and yet precede with her mission. Watching that video many times, made me also see her hesitation but yet insistence that the person in front of her was the enemy.
I was thinking as I was talking to that police\soldier man of how much difference this human contact can make. That moment that you force your eyes into meeting and interacting is life changing. Life changing in terms of everything we think we believe in and we insist on.
There is something about humanity that is so simple. Humans stupidly put it into such complications.
Yes , I was enjoying the idea of how good looking that young man was … and yes, I was flirting on that thought for my own safety of course… but yet … I couldn’t but think of how much we really miss each moment we insist in categorizing our life into “us” and “them” .
How much a single moment of humanity can save humans … as such a single moment of disregarding that humanity wastes humans.