These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Security's Personal Impact

Posted on November 28, 2010 by Shibley

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From Shibbles’ Eyes:

At this juncture I do not want to address the politics that surround the reality that is the security issue. There is enough to be said and written about the politics to fill several blogs for several decades. As has become my approach, I want to relay three stories/thoughts in which I was face to face with Israel’s security reality

  1. Bags, purses, backpacks, and the like are searched before entering crowded public areas, be they shopping malls, grocery stores, art fairs, or any place that could be considered a potential target. As a male, I often receive extra scrutiny. The most common example, “do you have a weapon?” It does not bother me, and I still feel safe, but it is a regular reminder of the reality in which I am living.
  2. The other day I was waiting for a bus, and the police had set up a machsom (checkpoint) close to the bus top. They were stopping vehicles at “random” to check identification and run the license plates. As I watched, I recalled the similar checkpoints that were erected following the sniper shootings of October 2002 in the Washington, D.C. metro area. What continues to fascinate me is the fact that Israel society accepts some of these disruptions while American society will not tolerate them on a number of grounds.
  3. Another suspicious package was found on the street outside Pardes. As per the usual protocol, the street was blocked from pedestrians and vehicles while the bomb squad was called. Although the package turned out to be nothing more than a backpack that was accidentally abandoned, there was a palpable anxiety among those assembled. Watching from the windows of Pardes, I had a good view of the unfolding situation. Because of the reality, every one of these suspicious packages must be treated with the utmost seriousness. Once the all clear was given, the cars immediately began honking, not even giving the bomb disposal team time enough to collect its gear. Israelis will tolerate these slowdowns as long as there is a potential threat, but once the threat is neutralized, they return to their impatience.

Shavua tov.

Hebrew phrase of the day: Gever, yesh l’cha neshek? “Sir, do you have a weapon?”