A week ago we packed our things up and left for the Netherlands. Cabdriver Daoud, who calls himself David to get more clients, drove us to Ben Gurion airport.
There’s a check point at the airport. Until now we passed it by saying hi to the checkpoint attendant and go on. Now things were different because our cabdriver was Arab. Daoud was asked to pull over and had to hand over his ID. Three different checkpoint people came over to open the doors of the cab, ask us where we came from and where we were going to.
I thought it was humiliating. Daoud thought it was nothing. Not even a ripple on the surface of the lake of Galilee. Just a week ago he passed with a bus full of teenage girls with Canadian and Australian passports. But Arab names. The checkpoint people made him wait for one and a half hours. Everybody had to get out. Luggage was opened, the bottom of the van checked. A canister with some kind of gas was thrown into the car to check for explosives.
Nothing disturbing was found. And yet, Daoud and the girls’ entry to the airport was denied and they were sent back. Just to try the whole thing again some hours later.
Daoud didn’t even bother to get upset about it all. I had steam coming out of my ears and foam coming out of my mouth. And the same futile question arose that I have asked myself a thousand times since arriving in Israel: How can people do this to each other?
It all boils down to fear. Dogs that are afraid, bite. And people? People humiliate, check, force, deny and kill when they are afraid. At least in this country. The fight or flight response reduced to just fighting.
Not being one of the fighting parties, I will flee.