Friday, December 21, 2007

Yes, Israeli Buses

Something nice before Shabbat...

The OU Shabbat letter included a lovely story by Esther Heller about the
less mentioned advantages of living in Israel.

As horrendous as our politicians are, your average Israeli is still wonderful at heart especially if you have to travel on public transportation.

I'll never forget what happened one day, well over thirty years ago, after I finished a very unpleasant visit to the American Consulate. It's located in "East Jerusalem" and staffed by Arabs. In those days, you had to walk through former "no man's land," where the old wall/border was. The closest bus stop was Sha'ar Shechem, the Damascus Gate.

Daughter #2 was just a toddler in a stroller and hadn't been all that quiet and passive while waiting in the consulate. I don't remember what my chore was there, maybe arranging passports...

I just know that when I finally made it to the bus stop, I must have looked awful. The bus driver got out of his seat, went down the stairs and carried my daughter, well strapped into her stroller, into the bus.

Compare that to my experience just two years later in Golders Green, London. We were on shlichut, for the Betar Youth Movement. I, in advanced pregnancy, was taking my eldest to school, accompanied by my then three year old. The bus stop we needed serviced two schools, so I waited until the other kids, unaccompanied, got off the bus for us to step down. As we stood, perched at the edge of the open bus, it began moving. My older daughter fell out, I began yelling at the driver to stop. Thank G-d we got off safely, but I was shocked that not only did the driver yell at me for not being fast enough. And even worse, from my Israeli perspective, not a single person helped me, neither physically withe the kids, not by telling the driver that he should have checked before driving.

When I told the story to my mother's British cousin, all she could say was:
"It was so much nicer here during the war." (WWII)

Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach
Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat


The Babka Nosher said...

For all the stories about how coarse-manner Israelis are, they are still far more "people oriented" than any other people I've come across.

muse said...

Yes, so true.