Thursday, November 22, 2012
Well it started out nice enough.
Took the kids to a workshop at the Kfar Sava Museum of Archaeology. The guides there create an experiential programme that teaches the history of human civilisation. Today's class: life in the stone age, the highlight of which was each kid getting a piece of flint and chiseling away at it to make their own speartip, then lashing it to a stick with pseudo leather string to make their own spear, all ready for them to go out "hunting" - apple chunks were provided for our aspiring young hunter gatherers to try their new skills on.
Meanwhile the younger siblings had playtime outside, running around the lawns or watching the beautiful koi fish and dragonflies at the many ornamental ponds scattered throughout the complex. Babies practised pulling themselves up and cruising along the low stone benches. The weather was clear and unseasonably warm even for a Kfar Sava November. Just a perfect morning for all the family.
The highlight for my toddler though was that we were going to take the train home. I find it's the easiest way to travel with the kids, they love watching trains in the station and the scenery out the window, they can get up and move around during the journey and it's easier to get the baby buggy on and off than with a bus.
Train stations in Israel have airport style security complete with x-ray machine and metal detector arch. Really. Still for the most part they've been a bit more relaxed of late. Not today. I was surprised at how thorough they were, really taking apart our bags, searching the buggy. Hmm, I thought, something is up.
One of the perks of a museum trip today was I was just too busy to actually listen to the news. Actually everyone was. Not so the folks on the train. As soon as a got on I could hear the conversations of the other passengers further down the car "It's starting again" "Yes, there was rock throwing again and a possible shooting at the dangerous bend near our village last night."
Then I noticed a bunch of missed calls on my phone and called my DH back and heard his slightly shaky voice and the news about the bus bombing in Tel Aviv and my heart sank with that old too familiar feeling. I hope it isn't starting again. Arriving at Tel Aviv's Hashalom train station to change trains you could have cut the tension with a knife, like everyone was already expecting the next blow, everyone had that same question mark hanging over them "Is it starting again?"
On the next train there were two people heatedly "discussing" the Gaza issue. OK, so they were yelling at each other so loudly the whole long car could hear, like front row seats on one of Israel Channel 1 political "discussion" shows. Good thing it was one of the newer ones divided into compartments so someone could just get up and close the connecting doors. Pretty good sound proofing.
We arrived in Modi'in just as the city was going in to lock down due to a massive police anti-terror sweep in the area. The whole afternoon and evening echoed to wave after wave of frantic police sirens and circling helicopters, as though the entire Israeli police force was concentrated right outside our windows.
Toddler, blissful in his innocence, was thrilled. "Look, a helicopter! Oh, another helicopter. Look it's coming back!"
Thousands of Modi'in residents were stuck in town with thousands more stuck on their way home as local roads and even major highways were blocked by police checkpoints and roadblocks.
Well I certainly had a unique excuse to give my dentist later that evening when I showed up late to my appointment. I was stuck waiting for my husband to take over from me with the kids, but he was stuck in the huge backlog of cars behind the police checkpoints unable to reach me on the phone because the toddler had disabled it while I was busy nursing the baby and poor DH was left wondering what on earth was going on with those of us trapped on the other side of the police roadblocks.
Never a dull moment.