I’ll start by explaining that in Israel, a common phrase is “yehiye b’seder” – it will be okay. Israelis say this all the time – sometimes sarcastically, sometimes seriously. Yehiye b’seder.
It’s 10:30 p.m. in Israel and I know where my children are.For those of you who don’t get the reference – years ago (do they still?), there was an announcement every night at 10:00 p.m. saying, “It’s 10:00 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”
For the last 3 hours, I didn’t know where Aliza was…actually, a bit less – perhaps 2.5 hours. She went to a new friend about an hour plus away in a Jewish community called Kiryat Arba…which is also Hebron. The buses that go there are bulletproof – and they need to be. Often, Arabs stone the buses; sometimes they throw firebombs.
More often than not, the bus travels the route in complete safety…just once in a while…
Since Aliza has never traveled this route before, she went with an older girl from our neighborhood (courtesy of a dear friend’s daughter who made the arrangements). Saturday night, another girl from our neighborhood was supposed to get on the bus at one place; a bit later, Aliza was supposed to get on, and together make their way home.
Aliza’s phone battery went dead. She got on the bus, but the older girl wasn’t there. So Aliza got off the bus. She borrowed someone’s phone to tell me that she had gotten on and gotten off…by the time I called that number back, Aliza was not with that woman anymore. I was too frantic to ask enough questions. The girl she was supposed to meet got on the next bus; Aliza wasn’t there.
My friend’s daughter had a car and went driving around; she met up with Aliza’s friend and together they searched the bus stops in Kiryat Arba. We all figured Aliza had gotten on a bus to Jerusalem, just not the same bus as the older girl.
I was left unable to reach her, unsure of where she was. I knew that if she got on a bus to Jerusalem, she would know to stay on until the end of the trip, when it arrived at the Central Bus Station. What I wasn’t sure about was whether Aliza knew how to get from Jerusalem to Maale Adumim.
The thought that kept going through my mind was that she had no phone to call us or anyone else. I pictured her alone and frightened. She told me she didn’t love the idea of traveling at night. Unsure what to do, Elie and I drove to the Central Bus Station; I could barely speak.
When we got there, Elie went to check incoming buses while I found a place to park the car. I walked to the Central Bus Station, desperately hoping he would call to say he found her.
I called him as I went in the entrance where long-distance buses arrive. Elie walked to meet me. We agreed that he would go to where the Maale Adumim bus leaves Jerusalem while I watched incoming buses. Twice, buses came in from Kiryat Arba and I watched as people got off. Both times, I asked the bus drivers if they had seen a young girl get on the bus and get off. The first said he didn’t remember.
The second didn’t think so but when he saw how upset I was, he said, “it will be okay; don’t worry.” I could barely talk to him because my throat was clogged with tears and fears. I asked him what time he had left Kiryat Arba. 8:00 p.m. – the other bus had left at 7:40 p.m. “Yehiye b’seder,” he said again. I just nodded, unable to speak.