Miroslav Marinov of Blogwrath.com travelled to Israel recently with members of the Jewish Defence League. In the aftermath of the horrific terror attack on a Tel Aviv bus he offers an account of his own bus ride to Hebron…
ON A BULLETPROOF BUS TO HEBRON
This is another article from the series about the life in Israel, based on my impressions from the recent trip. As I mentioned before, I am not covering the events in chronological order. Earlier today I heard the news about an explosion on a bus in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv, where we spent several days, is a laid back city with ubiquitous fresh juice stands, populated by friendly artsy types, who don’t seem to think too much about the dangers facing Israel, yet the long arm of the Muslim barbarism reached them again.
If you don’t live there, it is difficult to understand a country where an ordinary bus ride may turn into a death trip. And this is not a dysfunctional third-world place, where the everyday madness is a norm. Israel is a country, which tries to balance its democratic openness with the necessity to protect itself from its enemies. All this creates a reality, where the good intentions often backfire.
Our trip to Hebron earlier this month illustrates my point very well. The first unusual thing about the trip was that we had to get a bulletproof bus. Despite the 6 peaceful years, the tourist safety required it. On the outside it looks like an ordinary bus, but its windows are somewhat smaller.
The details that our guide Era provided reminded us of the grim reality with which the Israelis must cope every day. First of all, such a bus is very expensive – it costs about 1.5 million shekels. It is heavy and consumes roughly 1 litre of gas per kilometre (with gas prices much higher than those in Canada).
Those buses are mandatory for transporting children in the risky areas (in fact, the first assignment of our driver for the day was to drive kids to their school). That’s why it looks (and feels) like the seats are smaller. All parts of the bus, including the top, the floor and the tires are designed to withstand an assault. That includes the windows, made from special double glass, which should be kept free from scratches to avoid cracks when hit. That’s why the glass is covered with plastic on the both sides (it made taking pictures from the inside more difficult).
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