Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Accidental Witness

25 of the Fourth Month 5769

Coming back from French Hill (Please don't ask what I was doing in French Hill) toward Jerusalem's "Center of Town," friends of mine and I saw that Kvish (Road) No. 1 was blocked from Shimon HaTzadiq St. to as far as we could see south. Why? I have no idea why that would be a strategic move on the part of police.

We had to make right on . I was hoping that any rioting would be contained to the Kikar Shabbos area. My friend who was driving asked which way to go, left on Shmu'el HaNavi St. or straight on Yehezkel, which would have taken us straight to Kikar Shabbos.

He is apparentally not very good with geography. I told him to make the left, figuring we would avoid the epicenter of the rioting. Why the police were letting people through on Yehezkel, I do not know.

After some trafic and some navigation around additional vehicular, funny business, we were making progress down Shmu'el HaNavi St. On the way, I witnessed Yassa"mnikim (Israeli riot police) lined up against a building, ready and waiting, with a troop of IDF soldiers in formation across the street.

One of the Yassa"mnikim began kicking blindly at haredi passersby for no apparent reason, until his commander ran over to stop him.

The Me'ah She'arim and Beis Yisroel neighborhoods looked as if they were about to go under seige.

My suspicions were supported, as we made our way to Shivtei Yisroel St. Instead of making the usual right, we were forced back around toward Kvish (Road) No. 1. Shivtei Yisroel St. was blocked off by police officers, with billy clubs at their sides, and lit torches on the ground. They meant business.

Well, we made it out of there, but as of 11:30 PM, helicopters could still be heard circling the Me'ah Shearim, Beis Yisroel, and Bukharim neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

I successfully avoided the riots by anticipating the bus route detours, getting to where I was going on time, earlier that evening. But getting a ride back, which I thought would be faster, brought me straight into them.

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