Just like the proverbial cabdriver who gets to meet and talk to all sorts of people, I have those experiences when tremping, aka hitchhiking. Frequently I stay quiet, and I almost always wait for the driver to start the conversation.
Tonight after my friend dropped me off at Ofra, a car immediately showed up on its way to Ariel, so I asked the driver if he’d mind dropping me off at the Shiloh Junction.
“Just get in quickly” was his reply.
I don’t know how the conversation started, but we covered a lot of material very quickly. I think he started by asking if I live in Shiloh, and then we just got going especially talking about the absurdity that in this war, this time in history places like Ariel and Shiloh are among the safest in the State of Israel. We have no doubt, but most Israelis still think we live in what has been called “the wild west bank.”
He and I disagreed on whether or not Medinat Tel Aviv, “the State of Tel Aviv,” which is what many Israelis, especially those in the south and north who feel ignored and slighted by the slights of the Israeli elitists. The phrase may also be used by the Tel Avivians who are proud of their status. Many haven’t a clue as to how ignorant they are of what happens in the rest of the country. And I don’t even think they care. He thinks that the missiles that landed on/in Tel Aviv educated them to understand what other Israelis go through all the time. I don’t think they were “converted.” Soon they will go back to “normal” and Medinat Tel Aviv will return to its oblivian.
My driver also made fun of the name of this military campaign “Operation Protective Edge” and can’t understand why it got such a strange name that shows no desire to finish off our enemies, destroy them.
He liked what Putin said about what to do with Hamas. I couldn’t find what he told me on the google, so it may be a “legend” among Russian immigrants in Israel. According to him Putin suggests that Israel give Hamas 24 hours to surrender and then the next morning, hours before the deadline, call to announce that he wants an answer immediately. Time’s up.
And in Sha’ar Binyamin, in Yafiz and Rami Levy Jews and Arabs continue to work and shop together, as if nothing is going on in the rest of the country. One very large change is the number of Arab customers. Arab employees want to continue to get their salaries and feel comfortable in the world where Jews and Arab somehow work peacefully together. But there are far fewer Arabs in the stores than I’ve ever seen in the three and half years I’ve worked there.