web analytics
July 22, 2014 / 24 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘traffic’

A Lost License

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I felt ill at ease in a strange way when our daughter drove off in our old Dodge Caravan to pick up my son from yeshiva. She was new at the wheel, and there was plenty of traffic to maneuver around in Lakewood on Friday afternoons. An innocent, precious neshamah in my eyes who didn’t belong on the busy roads, she wanted to help out. So when I was called later to the scene of the accident, the One Above seemed to confirm that my assessment had been totally accurate.

Not seeing oncoming traffic, our daughter attempted to cross Route 9, the thoroughfare that passes through our town. She was astonished when an even larger, faster van appeared out of nowhere and sideswiped the driver’s side of our caravan. After making a spin and coming to a stop, our daughter walked unscathed to the sidewalk where a crowd gathered around her, guiding her as she confronted the law enforcement officers who were dispatched to the scene.

Unable to focus on the ramifications of the damage around her, our daughter did what she always does: she told the truth. She explained how she had proceeded to cross Route 9 because she hadn’t seen any cars speeding toward her. After the collision she watched in a daze as the tow truck lifted our crippled van onto the bed of its truck and police officers walked between her and the angry driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash, trying to gather as much information as possible about the collision.

When it came time for a kind police officer to return our daughter’s driver’s license to her, it was not to be found. It had vanished. The police officer explained that he had been called to many accidents that day and, as a high-ranking officer in the police force, he was worn out and was not his usual, organized self. He kept apologizing while searching for it in the front section of his car. But he just could not find the license.

The officer asked us for our home address in order to bring over the license once it had been found. He assumed that it had fallen into some hidden area of his car, and that after taking things apart at the station he would be able to come to our home and return our daughter’s license to us. We parted, wished each other well, and gratefully took our shaken but uninjured daughter back home to safety.

Later, before candle lighting for Shabbat, there was a knock on the door. With help from Above, the officer apologetically gave the license back to us – too embarrassed to give my daughter a ticket for her mistake after he had been in error himself. While our van was now out of commission, our daughter and her driving record were still in good shape.

Mt. Carmel Tunnels to Be Used as Bomb Shelters Should Iran Attack

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The idea of using the Mt. Carmel tunnels as public shelters already came up 2 years ago when they were initially opened for traffic, but now the idea is being considered as a practical solution should a war break out.

Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav has already approached Home Front Command and National Emergency Council officials asking to coordinate the use of the tunnels as public shelters. This is accompanied by a request from officials involved to organize adequate parking space for the thousands of cars belonging to the people who will arrive at the tunnels seeking protection.

Yahav also asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Transportation to declare the tunnels an essential emergency workplace, in order to prevent worker now-shows which could cause the closure of the tunnels.

The Carmel Tunnels (Minharot HaCarmel) are a set of road tunnels in and around Haifa, Israel. The tunnels’ purpose is to reduce road congestion in the Haifa area and to provide an alternative route of reaching the eastern and central parts of the city, Haifa Bay and the Krayot area to and from Israel’s central coastal plain without having to travel through traffic-congested downtown Haifa, having to drive up and across the Carmel Mountain or bypassing Haifa from the east, along the edge of the Jezreel Valley.

The tunnels cut the travel time from the Haifa South interchange in the west to the Checkpost interchange in the east from 30–50 minutes down to 6 minutes.

The tunnels were opened to traffic on December 1, 2010.

As part of the preparations for the worst case scenario, a map of the businesses in the city was recently completed by the Haifa Municipality, with the intention of ordering businesses to remain open in an emergency situation. Should the owner refuse, options are being examined for opening the businesses against their will and thereby forcing them to sell essential items. Cellular communication providers and gas stations are being targeted specifically by the municipality, to prevent their closure during an emergency situation.

Mayor Yahav told IDF Radio that since the day those tunnels have opened he had been contemplating using them as mass bomb shelters.

“I’ve been investigating for a long time the possibility of sheltering tens of thousands underground. But no one so far has been able to tell me how much oxygen would be required for, say, 30 or 40 thousand people.”

During World War 2, the bombing of London and especially the Blitz led to the use of many tube (underground train) stations as air-raid shelters. Closed stations and unfinished sections of new lines were also used. The shelters were well suited to their purpose, but some stations could still be breached by a direct hit, and, indeed, a few German attacks did result in serious loss of life, most notably at Balham and Bounds Green in October 1940 and Bank in January 1941. A still worse disaster was a crowd crush accident at the unfinished Bethnal Green in March 1943.

Israel’s Transportation Revolution is Underway

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

The Ministry of Transport published last week a primarily web-based campaign showing the impending changes, transformations and expansions undertaken in air, sea, and land transportation in the country. The Ministry of Transport, headed by Minister Israel Katz, has been working intensively in recent years to develop and implement far-reaching programs that could affect every Israeli citizen’s life. Videos distributed by the Ministry of Transport online show the expected investment of about 100 billion Shekels over the next six to eight years. The Ministry’s publicized objective is the promotion of national transportation that will leverage economic development, connect the periphery to the major cities, and place Israel among the most advanced countries in terms of transportation.

It is no secret that  transportation development has suffered neglect and lack of promotion in the past two decades. Until recently, roads have not been revamped, the train’s route was not developed, and traffic jams across the country intensified due to an increase in the number of private vehicles. Today, most citizens own at least one car, and in many cases two, a situation demanding immediate solutions. Lately, however, Israel has witnessed developments everywhere. Across the country, from north to south, there are new roads, interchanges have been built, railroads placed and more.

In Jerusalem, the Ministry promises to construct a new entrance. The road will be called “Route 16″ and will reach downtown. The road will contain mostly tunnels and should relieve traffic congestion. The busy highway 1 linking Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will become a two-track road which should, according to transportation officials, solve the heavy load on this road.

Also, a special railway line of about 57 km should  be open by the year 2017, which will connect Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by only 28 minutes travel.

In the North, one of the major projects that the Ministry of Transport presented is the establishment of the Golani Junction interchange – a huge project that began this year and is scheduled to be concluded in 2013. The junction will connect in the future to a network of highways and to Highway 6, which will allow a smoother trip with no traffic lights from the north of the country to its center.

Another project is the extension of  Highway 6, Israel’s most significant highway. Today it ends in the north at the Ein Tut intersection near Yokneam. In the future it will be expanded to Shlomi, taking the highway even further North. As for the southern segment of the highway, The Ministry of Transport promised to expand the highway  to the outskirts of Be’erSheva, which will further connect the south to central Israel.

A more grandiose project is the “Ha’Emek Train” – a flagship project of the Ministry which has set to develop the Valley Railroad, establishing a fast connection along the Haifa – Nazareth – Beit Shean rout. This project is scheduled to be ended by 2016. Minister Katz briefly introduced the project’s future benefits for the entire region: “The Jordanians are interested in promoting such a project, which will allow them to export and import cargo by train, arriving at the port of Haifa.”

In the center of the country, the Ministry of Transport presented the light rail which should constitute in the near future an extensive transportation network in the greater Tel Aviv area. The first line to be built is the Red Line, which will connect Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Petach Tikva, Bnei Brak and Bat Yam. The 11-billion-Shekel project will include additional lines, and will be completed gradually by 2017.

Furthermore, the ministry is establishing in the Sharon area a transportation system of special buses called BRT lines, which will have its separate lanes. The BRT lines  are intended to transport large numbers of passengers. The network is scheduled to be opened in 2014.

In the south of the country, modern rail lines should connect the Tel Aviv metropolitan area to the south of the country, including Eilat, and will allow passengers on the train to get from Tel Aviv to Eilat in two hours. At Timna,  a new international airport will replace the existing one in Eilat. The new airport will be called “Ramon Airport,” named after Ilan Ramon, an Air Force pilot and the first Israeli astronaut, and Assaf Ramon, Ilan’s son who was also an air force pilot and who was recently killed in a training accident. The Ministry of Transport did not supply an exact date of completion for this project.

Report: Egypt Seizes Grad Rockets Smuggled From Libya

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Defense News magazine has reported that Egypt last week seized a large weapons cache, smuggled from Libya into Egypt, not far from the Libyan border.

The cache included 138 Grad rockets and 139 Grad warheads, and the Egyptian interior ministry stated that police were searching for two men suspected of attempting to traffic the rockets “to the Sinai Peninsula or towards Palestine,” suggesting that the weapons were headed for Gaza.

The presence of extensive smuggling tunnel networks under the Gaza-Egypt border has Israel extremely concerned about the possibility that such weapons will find their way into the hands of the Hamas regime ruling in Gaza.

Intelligence Minister Injured in Car Accident

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor, his wife and their son were taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital on Saturday with injuries sustained during a traffic accident.

The accident occurred in the Beit HaKerem neighborhood in Jerusalem.  Preliminary reports suggest that Meridor’s vehicle, being driven by his son, crashed into the car in front of them.

Meridor sustained light injuries, as did his son.

Hashem Finds A Way

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

It was a brisk fall day in late October some years ago when Chavy (name changed) decided that since the weather was perfect she would walk to work. She had, Baruch Hashem, just resumed her work schedule after being home for six weeks due to her maternity leave for the birth of her latest child. She felt the exercise was good for her, as it was only about a half mile to her job. She put all of her work papers into her knapsack and gingerly swung it over onto her back for the trek to work.

It was a busy day as she walked along the main street to her job, carefully crossing the street each time as she waited for all the morning traffic to pass. Along the way there were many men out and about leaving the local shuls, rushing to start their day too.

She waited for the light to turn green at the street two blocks from her destination. Just as she stepped off the curb to cross the street, a speeding car came quickly onto her path from the main street and made a sharp right turn – hitting her hard. She flew up into the air and hit the ground hard but, Baruch Hashem, her knapsack saved her head from the expected severe impact. The rest of her body, though, was not as fortunate. Within seconds all traffic halted on that main street. People came running over to see what occurred.

Her family was contacted immediately, and Hatzolah arrived at the scene to medically aid her. She was rushed to the hospital while the police investigated the tragic accident. Her husband, Reuven (name changed), quickly arrived to help get the best care for her, while family friends helped tend to the needs of the other children at home. Thankfully, most of her children were already at school.

After almost a full day in extreme pain at a local hospital, Chavy was transferred to a top Manhattan hospital for critical care and surgery. She had injuries that, in time, would heal. It seemed that the knapsack she wore on her back helped cushion her fall when she hit the ground, thereby saving her life. She had intricate surgery to help heal her wounds.

During the weeks and months that followed, many wonderful people volunteered their time to help the family by preparing food and assisting with the children, among other acts of kindness. Five high schools in Flatbush took turns sending pairs of girls to Chavy’s house for several hours after school for many weeks. Their chesed was remarkable and extremely appreciated.

During this time, I was asked if I knew anyone who would volunteer to assist with the coming weeks’ meals. Since I was in charge of coordinating the high school girls’ schedule each week, I turned to my e-mail base of the hundreds of people I know through my Tupperware business and cookbook travels.

A day after this inquiry I received a call from Chavy’s sister-in-law, Malky (name changed), who was in charge of organizing the meals. She enthusiastically told me an amazing story, but first asked me to whom I sent the e-mails. I simply said, “Everyone.”

A man called her, saying that his wife received the e-mail and promised to bring over some food. But she left for Israel without getting the chance to do it. When he received an e-mail from his wife asking him to follow up, he did so. He asked if anyone needed breakfast, lunch and dinner for the family. After thanking him, Malky said that bringing over dinner would suffice.

Several hours later, there was a knock on the door. After a volunteer helper let him in, this man passed Chavy sitting with her crutches nearby. He had several boxes of food with him, enough to feed three families. As he left the kitchen area and looked at Chavy, they both stared at each other in a puzzled way. He said, “You look so familiar.” She agreed. He asked about the details of her accident, and saw how yad Hashem simply took over. He then said that he was in the car behind the car that hit her! He told her that he got out of his car and started to divert traffic away from her to avoid further damage to her. In all the tumult that was going on, he didn’t get her name. He heard she was a kimpiturin (mother of a newborn) and had, kin’ayin hara, a large family. He told himself in a heartfelt way that he wished he could help her in some way, and felt bad that he did not know how to reach her.

An American Odyssey (Part 9)

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

These days, Israel commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day, IDF Memorial Day and Israel Independence Day. I hope to write about these days sometime soon. For now, back to the Odyssey.

On Sunday morning, after breakfast at the Elite Café, we loaded the van, filled the gas tank and travelled the famous Route #1 from Los Angeles toward San Francisco, along the Pacific Ocean coast. It was the 4th of July weekend and the narrow route was crowded with miles of RV’s, campers and fellow travelers. Traffic was a bit slow along the way.

Our first pit stop was at the Santa Barbara wharf. My wife, Barbara, enjoyed stopping there to buy a refrigerator magnet with her name on it. We enjoyed the beautiful boardwalk and watched all of the tourists watching us. After a short visit, we drove along the highway, searching for a vacant table so that we could enjoy a picnic lunch.

From Santa Barbara, we drove to the very famous Hearst Castle, the beautiful former mansion of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Today the castle is run by the Parks Service and is considered a historical treasure of majestic beauty. With 165 rooms, three phenomenal swimming pools and 127 acres of gardens, terraces and walkways, it is a popular and very crowded tourist attraction. On jam-packed weekends, tours often have to be arranged in advance, so we just enjoyed the film about the history of the castle and, of course, visited the gift shop where Barbara and Martha enjoyed trying on the big, colorful hats that were for sale.

We left the castle and returned to Route #1. The traffic and the single-lane curvy road, with no cross road exits, was bumper-to-bumper for many miles. This 12-hour day of Sunday traffic became one of our longest days on the road, and we were exhausted when we arrived at our motel, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The next morning we stopped at the beautiful new home of our cousins Sara and Dave Benevento. The house is located in a forested area and has several spacious rooms. Dave works for a company that packages delicious berries (which we enjoyed with our breakfast yogurt). When we left Dave and Sara, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand and purchased freshly-packed, delicious California cherries.

We travelled a bit off the beaten track and drove to visit the James Lick Observatory. It is owned by the University of California and is located at the very top of Mount Hamilton (4,700 feet above sea level). The narrow, winding mountain-side road was a steep uphill climb (drive) to the top. Everyone, except for the driver, kept his or her eyes tightly shut during the scary ascent on this often single-lane road. It took over 75 minutes to reach the top (but only 30 minutes to travel down). The visit to the telescope room was very interesting and we heard an informative talk by one of the staff members. James Lick was a “generous miser” who grew wealthy dealing in California real estate. The telescope is used each clear night to observe the solar system and search for distant galaxies. The telescope needs darkness to work and light-pollution can be a problem.

We continued our drive on the beautiful scenic route to San Francisco with a stop at Menlo Park to visit my sister-in-law’s brother, Teddy Hamlet. Visiting relatives that we have not seen in a long while was one of the purposes of our trip. The local Glatt Kosher restaurant was, unfortunately, closed and the bagel place is open on Shabbos, so we could not go out for a meal. Some supplies from a stop at the local Walmart and our packaged meals served as dinner and we enjoyed the 4th of July fireworks from our motel room and via TV.

Next: San Francisco.

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/focus-israel/an-american-odyssey-part-9/2012/04/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: