Somewhere down the road, we will imagine that the Palestinian Authority has acceded to accepting the 1949 Armistice Lines, the Green Line, as their border as the final agreements are ironed out setting the border inch by ever painful inch, or centimeter by ever painful centimeter. The borders will loom important for this Easter trip of a Church group from somewhere in leftist pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist but professing to love Jews and declare they should have their nation with safe and secure borders not too far from city center Tel Aviv and are supporting the Peace Process French denizens. The flight of this fifty younger Christians who are members of Christians for Palestine from the river to, well, some of the sea arrived on schedule at Ben Gurion International Airport. Of course their flight on an A 320 Airbus landed in Greece from which their group was broken up between two smaller and agile prop driven aircraft which once crossing from the Mediterranean to land flew just barely over the rooftops avoiding a couple of skyscrapers newly built with modern anti-missile technology built into the structure of the building. The ends of the rail-guns were evident on the east and southern faces of these new buildings. One of the members on the larger plane gave a summary of the technology, speed of the small but deadly projectile used and the radar that guided each shot. The secret to this weapon was the projective speed at close to ten times the speed of sound which meant that almost no calculations for trajectory were necessary as the ‘bullet’ reached its target within millionths of a second.
Many on that flight nodded almost in unison as if that would give it more of a feeling that they actually understood the need and all that went into requiring these buildings be so equipped. The truth is that at least two of these towers are being erected across Israel and are called the sentinel towers and each city has building restrictions for height no taller than twenty-five floors east of these towers and each is building a minimum of one tower per half million residents and workforce numbers combined. Their landing was more abrupt than the frequent flyers who did not fly into Ben Gurion are used to, as the aircraft no sooner landed than it sped towards the terminals and the protective wall erected east of the airport and reaching skyward almost a quarter of a mile, blocking any view of the Judean hilltops from the airfield, and the airfield from said hilltops.
Our imaginary group breezed through customs as their group had been all but tucked into bed by security before they even boarded their flight back in France. They met at the prearranged hotel where a lavish kosher lunch was served and all rested but were talking about how anxious they were to visit the holy sited in Jerusalem. Their Arab waiter advised them that they should be more careful and never refer to Jerusalem as it had an older and more venerated name of al-Quds. Their leader thanked the waiter for his unsolicited advice and after he had left the table continued discussing Jerusalem as the western part of the city would be the Israeli capital while the easternmost parts the Arab capital. Originally the religious areas such as the Temple Mount were protected for free access by baby-blue helmeted United Nations troops from Brazil and Peru, but they had fled after their first firefight with Palestinian Security forces who now ruled these areas where Israelis were only allowed limited access, usually to escort tourists on tours and even then were restricted to using only the Arab and Islamic names for the sites as listed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in their list of World Heritage Sites. After lunch the French group boarded their two chartered buses and on each bus at least one person in complete puzzlement being unable to operate the windows yelled out in frustration, “How in the name of all the Saints do these widows open?” to which the bus driver calmly responded, “They don’t open, they’re bullet proof glass.” The French tourist just shook his head mumbling something about overly paranoid Jews. The trip out of Tel Aviv was pleasant and they started to climb the long ride cutting through the passes and canyons towards Jerusalem. The French tourists had settled down, run out of songs to half-heartedly sing along and were watching the trees pass by.
That was when their education on the realities of peace in the Middle East started as they heard the patter of objects striking the roof and sides of the bus. A number of the French got nervous and asked the driver, “That isn’t what I think it is, is it?” He queried back asking, “What do you think it is?” Frenchman, “Bullets?” Driver, you got it, now sit down and pray it remains only bullets, we can absorb them.” The French tourist was obviously unsettled about the implications of vulnerability but was unsure from what they need fear and was too horrified to even contemplate asking. That was when they turned a corner and at the side of the road was a bus that looked very much like the ones in which they road except the top was torn open as if by a large hunting knife skinning a large rodent and the insides were burned to ashes. One horrified French tourist asked, “When did, what did, are we safe?” The bus driver’s brow began to show beads of sweat and he went unnervingly quiet ignoring their questions and often surveying the hills and crags which overlooked the highway and rail line adjacent to the roadway.
Suddenly the road next to the second bus exploded into shrapnel, flames and chunks of road surface. The bus sped up painfully slowly as a second explosion rocked the first bus but it continued its struggle to speed faster along the road. Over the next mile five or six explosions struck, the closest right between the two buses. The roadway was littered with over a dozen burnt out shells of buses and near countless cars. Once through the stretch of road, the hills dropped away and there was a respite where the land was less stark. There ahead was an area of roadway with a huge cement wall on either side of the road with dirt piled for over a couple hundred yards on the sides of the walls away from the roadway. The road median widened and there was a rest stop where the two buses pulled in and announced there would be a fifteen minute stop and warned that they not go outside the safe areas and to never cross into the red striped areas or beyond as such was unsafe. The frightened almost out of their minds tourists numbly went through the motions of a normal rest stop except nobody talked and each group clung to each other as if safety could be found in sheer numbers.
The remainder of the drive to Jerusalem was uneventful and the tourists learned to accept the patter of bullets on the side and roof as being as normal as raindrops in a thunderstorm. One can never know if the experience changed their outlooks and shaped new thoughts though one’s best bet is within a few weeks the entirety of the bus rides to and from Jerusalem will have faded and they will join in the pro-Palestinian anti Jew rallies with their friends and never will the emotional and traumatic trip through the gauntlet between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem be mentioned or given a second thought. After all, was not Israel building a new highway and train track almost five-hundred yards underground linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem making the trip as normal as possible. It was even planned to us fiber optic cables to project the scene as if one was driving on the surface making the trip more normal and exactly like the trip above without the bullets and RPGs (rocket propelled grenades aka anti-tank weapons). All will seem safe and secure as those Israelis manage to survive and even thrive no matter what danger is imposed by a hateful world, and isn’t survival what it is all about. So what if Israel needs to be on a war setting, they will cope and if they don’t, then the world will be rid of Israel and the Jews dispersed and roaming the world from one exile to the next always living at the kindness of their betters as it has always been and should be.
As a Zionist and a Jew there is an answer to that last sentiment, Never Again! Israel will live, will never come to the situation as depicted aboveno matter how badly the United Nations, European Union or nations of the world desire her destruction and the chopping pieces off every fifty years or so, no, Never Again. Israel has been reborn, Israel lives and Israel will continue to live and face the entire world if necessary to make it so. Hashem gave us this land and Hashem will guard us in this land providing we take on that task first. The waters did not part until one Israelite jumped in and walked straight across allowing the water to reach his nostrils and as he submerged the waters parted. We must walk into the water until it reaches our nostrils and must take back our lands as described in the Torah and let the world do as they please. We are on a mission from Hashem and nobody should stand in the way of Hashem and the children of Israel. Am Yisroel Chai.
Beyond the Cusp