Travels With Harry

Coping With Terrorism Is Part of Ordinary Life in Israel

Faced with these fears, the telephone company now offers a special deal on a phone that receives incoming calls but can only call one outgoing number: home. Parents can stay in touch, but the kid can't abuse the phone by calling all his friends.

No one lets their kids hitchhike anymore—a favorite mode of transportation in Israel—and fewer and fewer parents want their children on public buses. "I spend a lot more time chauffeuring the kids," says David Harman, an education specialist who lives in Jerusalem.

"But daily life goes on. You don't go to certain places and you don't do certain things. People from Tel Aviv avoid coming to Jerusalem, and there are certain parts of Jerusalem that I avoid. In the old days, I used to go to Bethlehem or Ramallah for the great restaurants. We don't do those things anymore."

The author with her gun
Photograph courtesy of Sylvana Foa
The author with her gun

Pnina agrees: "I used to wander around the old city of Jerusalem at least once a week. I don't anymore. It's not so much that I feel scared; I just don't like to be looked at as if I'm the enemy. I used to hop into the car and drive to Jericho and sit under the trees and sip coffee. No one in their right mind would do that anymore.

"I sued to go to Amman to visit friends, and I can't do that anymore," Pnina says."Once our borders were opening up; now they are all closing again and I'm becoming claustrophobic."

Only a tiny minority of Israeli Arabs shares the feelings of those who danced in the streets on hearing the news of terror attacks in America. And there has been no increase in hostility toward them because of it. Business in Jaffa is booming, Hani says. During the Jewish New Year, when most Jewish-owned stores are closed, cars clogged Jaffa's streets, and the restaurants were full.

"Last year, when the trouble started, people were afraid to come to Jaffa to buy fish, pita, and vegetables. But now, look at Mohammed," Hani grins, pointing across the street to another shop. "He had so many people in his store, he became a millionaire."

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