Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 35: An Attack In Tel Aviv

This evening I said goodbye to my good friend Susanna, who leaves to go back to the United States late tonight. She was offered a full time job here in Israel but hasn't signed her contract yet so there is a possibility that this goodbye will be the real thing in stead of just a mere see you in two months. I hope not, but when it comes to jobs and so on you just never know. After a relaxing day filled with rest, shopping, cooking (which for me means making sandwiches), and cleaning, I met up with Dana and Susanna for a delicious goodbye dinner.  I haven't had a hamburger since my going away party over a month ago so I decided it was time to see how the Israelis do burgers. I was pleasantly surprised, and the meat, being Kosher, was so delicious. After dinner we frequented our favorite new hookah spot, Um Qaltum, for our last hour together. At 9:30 Susanna needed to start her journey to Ben Gurion Airport, and it was time for us to say our goodbyes :-(. We gave our last hugs, Susanna was off to the airport, and Dana and I headed back to Ramat Aviv.

Now in reference to the title of this blog: I woke up this morning to news that there had been a terror attack in Tel Aviv, a small scale one, but an attempted attack none the less. A young Palestinian man apparently stole a cab, ran into a road block near a very heavily populated club (very close to where Susanna lives), got out of the car and started stabbing people. Most of the injuries were inflicted upon police officers and officials, one man was in critical condition, and a few more were more moderately wounded. As of right now I haven't heard any reports on the motive behind the attack, or even who the targets were (though we think he was going for the night club), but Israel has been on a very high alert since the attacks near Eilat 11 days ago, so, thank God, there were police very near bye that prevented anything more serious from happening.

I keep reading on various news sites (Israeli and American) that Israeli intelligence has heard of major plans in the works for a big attack which is why security is being so heightened in the major cities. I don't know if I am scared or not because Israel is always under threat, but it is so strange to know that whatever might happen, I will be right in the middle of it somehow. This country is so small, that an attack in the south, or even one as close as Jerusalem, feels like it is happening next door. I thank God everyday that I am kept safe here, because that is certainly no guarantee. Now, I realize that anywhere in the world there is no guarantee of safety from one day to the next, but especially in a place like Israel, it is so important to appreciate the quite nights, and minutes, hours, days, and weeks, when nothing catastrophic happens.

After reading of all the concerns regarding attacks in Israel, I began thinking of the month I will soon be spending in Jerusalem. For the first time I truly feel like I am going out on my own; I know no one, will not be on an organized program, and will be living in a hotel. As exotic and exciting as it will be, and don't get me wrong I am so excited, I am a little nervous about being on my own in East Jerusalem during the high holidays when tensions run very high between Palestinians and Israelis. The funny thing is, I am not concerned about an attack, and my hesitation has very little to do with the conflict in general, however, being a female, I have so many more things to worry about when traveling alone. It really is a shame, because I would love to travel all over without having to worry about who to go with, how many people would be the safest to be with, etc. I would love to just get on a plane, go to Italy, self explore, make friends, and be only beholden to myself. However, the reality is, it is not safe for females to travel alone, and I will have to be on extra alert, especially living in Arab East Jerusalem, where the cultures are so different, and stupid, American, sex crazed females (as many foreigners think we all are, thank you American TV and Cinema) are primed targets for trouble. Now I am clearly not a stupid, sex crazed, American, but like I said, many foreigners see a lone, American female and figure that is what they are. If there wasn't a risk of being arrested I would probably carry scissors or a knife around in my bag with me just to be safe :-)

But with all that said, I am so excited, and feel that my little worrying will help me be extra vigilant and able to make very smart decisions when it comes to who to talk to, who to give out my number to, what cabs to take, etc. I just have to hope that my desire to speak Arabic with people doesn't hinder my good judgment, although I don't think that it will. I'm might have portrayed myself as being a bit more worried than I am, I am sure that my nerves are very natural, and aside from any concerns I might have, I am genuinely excited for an amazing month on my own working in Jerusalem. I tend to flourish the most when I am thrust into the unfamiliar, and this will be just that; a jump kick into a completely different world. I will say this, shorts and short sleeve shirts will become a thing of the past!

Tomorrow I was going to go into Haifa, but due to extreme exhaustion from the last few days I decided to postpone the trip until another day. Even though I wont' be traveling, I look forward to seeing what I can explore in Tel Aviv that hasn't been seen yet :-) Always have to keep busy!

Stay tuned :-) ma salame ya habibkum <3
Jordana Simone 

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