Kathy and I got into Jerusalem on Tuesday, but she had a headache on Wednesday, so we didn’t get to Hebron until Thursday. We were sad that we only got to work with Bob Holmes for one day! We worked with Bob during the Second Intifada ten years ago. He is a lot of fun, but he doesn’t like eating fruits or vegetables. He’s really afraid of pomegranates. But we miss him already. Sniff Sniff.
Right before Kathy and I arrived, Winter Storm Alexa hit Israel and Palestine and all the countries around them with a LOT of snow and rain. In Hebron, which is about 3,000 feet up, there was a lot of snow–like there is in Rochester during a couple bad days of blizzards, but no one here has snow plows or snow shovels. So it caused a lot of buildings and parts of buildings to fall down. Kathy and I will take some more pictures of that.
When we got here, several days after the blizzard ended there was still snow on the steps leading up from the women’s apartment to the roof. It keeps melting, so there’s always a little river running down the stairs, and we have to keep squeegeeing the water outside the door down the next flight of stairs because it collects into a little pond about 3″ deep outside our front door.
And it’s pretty cold inside the house. The downstairs apartment where the office is has a gas heater and an electric heater going, so it’s not too bad, but Kathy’s room is really, really cold. The little electric heater doesn’t help a lot. It only warms the part of your body that’s right next it. Kathy is always grateful to her mother-in-law Terri for giving her that black and gray wool dress that is too warm to wear anywhere that has central heating, so it is perfect to wear for winters in Hebron. In fact, she almost never takes it off. She wishes she could wear two pairs of wool socks with her shoes. Unicorns, of course have magic fur, so we’re fine in the cold or the heat, but we try not to be annoying about it.
After my easy entry and exit in October, I was expecting another easy entry, although I was expecting some scrutiny for having entered six weeks after I left the country. Then the Israeli authorities denied entry to my colleague Patrick during the first week of December and the anxieties began building again.
Bob is showing Christopher how to handle the finances. Maurice is standing behind them because I told him to.
When I exited the airplane, I noticed that shortly after I entered the terminal, a long time before I got to Passport Control, a crowd of people was standing. I was jetlagged, had a migraine and was preparing myself for a grilling, so I had only a vague impression that many of them were Latinos. One Israeli security person pulled aside a young man in his twenties who was just behind me, asked to see his passport and added him to the crowd. When I got to Passport Control, there were very few people in line. The young woman in the booth literally didn’t speak to me. She waved me forward, looked at my passport, printed out my visa and waved me on. I didn’t connect the two incidents until I got to my friends Ya’alah and Netanel’s apartment in Jerusalem—that the security people were pulling people aside before they got to Passport Control rather than Passport Control people sending “questionable” people to be interviewed by security.
I spent yesterday in Jerusalem because of a migraine, and upon arriving on team in Hebron this afternoon found that my new teammates Christopher and Maurice had had identical experiences. Israeli security pulled aside the “questionable” people i.e., anyone who was not white, or under thirty to forty years old, soon after they exited the plane. Christopher said he usually gets questioned, but he was deep in conversation with a German businessman as he was walking out of the plane, so the security people left him alone.
I’m going to leave it to Markie to discuss the level of snow and cold here from Winter Storm Alexa (yes they named it.) I’m a little sad that Bob Holmes, one of my favorite colleagues, is leaving tomorrow before I really get a chance to work with him. And Christopher and Maurice will leave in a couple weeks. And of course I was looking forward to working with Patrick; I had even bought Shinichirō Watanabe’s anime series Kids on a Slope to watch with him. At least Mona will be here (she’s at home in Ramallah today.) Girl power. Rah.