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.
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.