Sunday, January 01, 2006

Exhilarating Chanuka Tiyul to Har Eval - part one.

Following the Muqata family tradition of going on meaningful (yet kid-approved fun) trips around Israel during holidays, our 7th day of Chanuka tiyul was to Har Eval as promised.

(Previous trips have included Har Grizim to visit the Shomronim, snorkeling for Techeilet - Biblical Jew Blue for Tzitziyot, and many others)

As with most of our tiyulim, I start out with a great idea for a fun and educational tiyul, and the kids mope and groan. This tiyul was no exception.

"It sounds boring, do we really have to go?"
"I read on the Arutz Sheva website that the IDF is letting terrorists free on Sunday, January 1rst..."

"Didn't someone get killed on the last tiyul to Har Eval?"

Getting the boys up for 7:00 AM minyan was next to impossible.

" I told you, I don't want to go, and that's final."
"Let me sleep, I'm tired...I went to bed at midnight."

Finally, after a heroic effort by Mrs. Muqata, the kids joined me at minyan. After a quick breakfast, with my 11 year old eating cereal in slow motion, we managed to get out of the house and on our way to Shavei Shomron -- the settlement where the tour buses would be leaving from.

We made it to Shavei Shomron with 1 minute to spare, and in typical IDF "hurry up and wait" style, we waited another 25 minutes on the armored bus before departure. Two soldiers boarded the bus and gave the following short speech:

Chag Sameach everyone! The IDF is going to make sure this is going to be a fun and safe tiyul for everyone. We're going to have an IDF escort jeep in front and in back of the buses (two buses altogether). In case terrorists start shooting at the bus, don't get off and return fire. In case a roadside bomb goes off next to the bus, don't get off. In fact, don't get off for any reason whatsoever. We've got everything under control, with lots of lookouts all over the place to make sure your bus safely gets to where it needs to go. Chag Sameach, and have a fun tiyul!

At this point, my 11 year old turns to me and says, "Sounds real safe Abba...another winner of a tiyul." Before you all jump on me for being a terrible parent, please reserve judgment till the end of the posting...tomorrow's posting.

The buses departed Shavei Shomron, looped around and arrived at a massive roadblock. The roadblock was erected this past summer with the expulsion of the Northern Shomron settlements...we had spent alot of time at Chomesh. It reminded me of how Jews must have looked at the old city of Jerusalem from atop Har HaZofim from 1948-1967 -- as Yoram Gaon sings:

מעל פסגת הר הצופים - שלום לך ירושלים

From atop the peak of Mount Scopus, Shalom to you, Yerushalayim.

My kids were very moved by the huge roadblock, since they all remembered this summer very clearly...and they knew that Chomesh was only 10 more minutes down the road. It was totally open for Palestinian traffic, yet Jews are absolutely forbidden from driving past the roadblock.


The buses turned right, and drove for 25 minutes up a very narrow road to the top of Har Eval.

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow (with pictures). I'm off to sleep.


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know you said to wait but... sorry.. You are dealing with two very different cases - Lazy Kid and Concerned kid. You're concerned kid felt unsafe! Did you make the kid go? Do you think the fear was justified? I mean, you're kid is right, on the last tiyul, they WERE shot at and someone DIED. So it turned out ok in the end- Thank G-d... but what if it hadn't? My chidren are also involved politically and I justify this to people by explaining to them that my children really do have a handle on what is going on, understand the political situation and we support their choice to be involved. Should we not support their (intelligently thought out) choices regardless of whether we agree?

Joe Settler said...

I remember one of my Tiyulim with Jameel a few years back in Hebron on Sukkot.

Arabs shot at our group near the Maarat Hamachpela (2 women were hit). We all grabbed one of Jameel's kids and ran into the building to watch the show from safety.

Is Jameel being an unprotective father?

He would be if he let his kids near the Dolphinarium, Versaille Hall, the Netanya Park Hotel, Ben Yehuda, Dizengoff Center, Sderot, South Ashkelon, the Karnei Shomron shopping center, the Rishon L'tzion shopping center, the Otniel Yeshiva, the Efrat supermarket, Sabaro's Pizza, Hillel Cafe, the #18 bus, the Hebrew University cafeteria, French Hill, Moment cafe, Ben Yehuda, The Jeusalem Shuk, Shuk Hacarmel,.................

Anonymous the Dog said...

I have posted on my blog.

Irina Tsukerman said...

Sounds like an interesting trip. I can't wait to hear the rest!

MC Aryeh said...

"In case terrorists start shooting at the bus, don't get off and return fire"

Not something you really want to hear on a tiyul....shouldn't your wife be Mrs. @ the Muqata?...I love the phrase Biblical Jew blue for techeilet. Very fitting.

Looking forward to part two. Curious (in a non-judgmental way) as to your child endangerment defense.

rockofgalilee said...

"In case terrorists start shooting at the bus, don't get off and return fire"

At least they know who they're dealing with. Can you imagine a bunch of shomronians going to Disney World, where they don't tell you specifically not to return fire when the pirates are shooting at you.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rock: Actually, the soliders didn't mind if we returned fire from within the bus...he just didn't want us to get off under any circumstances. (I put a smiley after comment, though)

MCAryeh: I didn't mention the JoeSettler story on purpose from a few years back, but since then, my oldest refused to go on buses or go to Hevron. We didn't force the issue at all, and he was exempt from any tiyul he didn't want to go on.

If any of the kids had serious issues with the tiyul, I wouldn't have forced them to go. The security issue "raised" was mostly laziness. (This was the same kid who went out last week to start one of those "outposts")

In any event, since its a valid issue that anonymous brought up, I will talk about that in a future posting...and I did ask to wait on that issue till AFTER part 2. Sheesh. Some people.

ifyouwillit said...

Anonymous: The IDF know what they are doing, and no one on the tiyul would have been blind to the risks. Life has its risks, yes, some greater than others, but the fact the IDF let the tiyul go ahead would indicate no one was in immediate mortal danger.

Living in Israel means accepting things aren't as straight forward as they might be if you lived in a country free of such risks, but it doesn't mean you should wrap up in cotton wool and lock the doors.

I am sure J@M and his wife are responsible parents and wouldn't do anything to put anyone, especially their own children, in any excessive danger.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Ifyouwillit: Thanks for the vote of confidence.

I'm just a bit anxious about writing the "Kids in Israel" posting, since I don't want to paint a picture that could inadvertantly bother potential olim.

Its a valid issue to bring up, yet probably difficult for some people to comprehend...and are thinking "Why the heck live in a crazy place like Israel..."

Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

"If terrorists start shooting at the bus, don't get off and return fire..."

Are you allowed to return fire if you stay on the bus, and open the window?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Balabusta: Yes...(how depressing do we want to get on this tiyul comment section...I'll have to get to work on part 2 quickly).

The IDF's point was that since the civilians weren't in uniform (obivously), then they said it would be hard for them to distinuish between civilians and terrorists which is why they wanted us to stay on the bus at all costs.

I don't disagree with them...but I did take my M-16 along (and army radio)

tafka PP said...

First of all, glad you are all OK.

I'm just a bit anxious about writing the "Kids in Israel" posting, since I don't want to paint a picture that could inadvertantly bother potential olim.

I would venture that potential Olim who read your blog will not be put off their Aliya plans by the description of the precautions you took for your day trip into the deepest West Bank, or anything else. As Joe Settler pointed out so nicely, nowhere is safe or unsafe for anyone. (She says, typing in East Jerusalem) You might as well be honest about where you live, what that entails, and why.

Kamagra said...

My chidren are also involved politically and I justify this to people by explaining to them that my children really do have a handle on what is going on, understand the political situation and we support their choice to be involved

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