Hamas War

Sunday, June 15, 2014

In Defense of Tremping aka Hitchhiking

Tremping isn't the problem. Arab terrorists are!
Yaakov Nafatali ben Rachel Devorah, the son of Rachelli Sprecher Frenkel, director of the Hilkhata Program at Matan
Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim
Ayal ben Iris Teshura
May they be reunited soon with their families.
It really gets on my nerves when I keep hearing that this kidnapping is "because they tremped." That's not the problem. The three teenagers were kidnapped by Arab terrorists. They are victims of Arab terrorism. The problem is the terrorism, not the tremping.

In many parts of Israel and the world, waiting for rides on the road is an accepted mode of traveling. The Arab custom here is not to have formal bus stops. Arabs of all ages, both sexes, hail rides and buses in all different places, even at busy junctions causes delays to others.

The fact that there are Arabs and Jews riding the same roads is proof that Israel is not an "apartheid state." Another fact often ignored is that there are many, many Arabs who legally reside in "Israel proper" sic having an Israeli Identity Card and license plates, but they live in large, lovely homes in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley. So a "yellow licence plate" is not a way to guarantee that the car is being driven by a Jew. Those Arabs are generally more careful, because they don't want to get in trouble with the police and security forces. They are Israelis.

The biggest problem is that there's an active car theft business run by Arabs. Many of the cars they target look very Jewish, with stickers from yishuvim, Jewish communities, and they can easily give the impression that there are Jews driving the car.

That's me waiting for a ride at the Jerusalem "city line."
There used to be these big signs to use, but now we
need to provide ourselves with homemade ones or just
identify our destinations to the drivers.
OK, now I promised to tell you why I need to tremp.

First of all, we don't have cars, not even one. I no longer even have a valid drivers license, and if I did, it wouldn't help, because we can't afford a car. The expenses of owning a car in Israel are very high, and our incomes are very low. My husband was never a driver.

My world, my work, study, income and schedule in general don't suit limiting myself to the buses and public transportation. I certainly do take buses all over, but I also tremp. I do what is practical and convenient.

Sometimes there just isn't public transportation. Sometimes the last bus has already left. Are we supposed to sleep in the street or not go any place? I certainly do a lot less than car owners do. I can't just "pop over" some place for a short time, because I need to take into account travel logistics of public transportation and tremping. I don't take anything for granted. There are many events I don't even attempt to get to. There are times I'm invited to something with an invitation that has a PostScript saying:
"Please don't trouble yourself to come. We understand the difficulties involved. We know you're thinking of us."
Sometimes I make that special effort and with the help of others I attend the event. And sometimes I feel too insulted and don't even. That's life for us.

One of the things I always liked about Israel and enjoyed was that as parents we didn't have to chauffeur our kids around. From a young age they learned to be independent and self-sufficient. Walking also made them fitter. When I was young, growing up in Bell Park Gardens, a garden apartment development my friends and I had that freedom and independence to got wherever we needed by ourselves. My kids also walked to their friends for visits, and when they got older, they took the bus or tremped. Nowadays, even on yishuvim which have gotten much larger, more parents have cars and more parents chauffeur their kid everywhere.

There's another reason that many teenagers tremp here in Israel. They study in schools located in places which have very limited public transportation. And the schools do not have budgets for school buses at all hours to take the kids to classes, homes and tests, such as the Bagrut, Israeli Matriculation Exams. There is only a Ministry of Education bus service for elementary school. When I was a high school English Teacher in Beit El I was not provided with transportation during most of those eleven years. I had to allocate an hour and a half minimum to get from Shiloh to Beit El, even though the direct drive is less than a half an hour door to door. And to get home, it would sometimes take me two hours. I never knew when I'd be arriving home. If I had traveled only by bus, it would have taken me even longer. I had no choice. I had to tremp or I couldn't have worked at all.

So stop condemning us, please. Thousands and thousands of people tremp safely everyday.

There is only one way to stop Arab terrorism, and that is to execute all convicted Arab terrorists! It should be the only sentence the courts hand down. And let the hunger-striking convicted terrorists die, if that's what they want. No forced feeding. Consider it a group suicide. Israel does not need to feed and support more Arab terrorists.


Anonymous said...

This is all unnecessary. People love to blame the victim, as it makes them feel better about themselves. If the victims were somehow to blame for their misfortune, the world of the finger-pointers makes sense to them, and they feel safer in the knowledge that this couldn't possibly happen to them.

Ariela ben-Eliezer said...


goyisherebbe said...

I point a finger at the terrorists and the people like Peres and Livni who illegally and immorally negotiate with them and lionize them. Not just any finger, the middle finger.

Richie Sevrinsky said...

The fact that "thousands and thousands" of people manage to tremp without incident daily does not condone tremping as safe behavior.

Hitchhiking is inherently risky, whether for nationalistic reasons or just personal safety.

To say that it's absolutely necessary is ludicrous. If you don't have a car or don't drive, responsible travel planning is absolutely necessary, whether that means allowing enough time to travel by bus, taking a taxi, or having a planned ride with another driver.

Yes, the criminals here are clearly the Arab perpetrators, but that doesn't absolve every one of us of responsible behavior.

Batya said...

The irony is that people who consider it foolishly dangerous to possibly get into an Arab car think we can trust the same Arabs to keep a peace aggreement.

Richie Sevrinsky said...


I don't follow -- who *doesn't* consider it foolishly dangerous to get into an Arab car?

NormanF said...

People in Israel don't have a choice.

I blame the Israeli government for making the kidnapping of the boys possible - by coddling Arab terrorists.

If crime against Jews didn't pay, those kids would now be home with their families today.

The kidnapping is a symptom of Israel's inability to deal straightforwardly with Arab terrorism.

Batya said...

Richie, think about it. If we can't trust that they won't prey on us to kill us, then how can we trust them as "partners in peace," sic?

Richie Sevrinsky said...


As I understood your earlier comment, you believe that those who consider getting into an Arab car to be foolishly dangerous would be in favor of a peace agreement, i.e. leftists.

I find it hard to believe that you're implying that right-leaning individuals do *not* trust a peace agreement with Arabs, but would happily hitch a ride with them.

Or perhaps I misunderstood and you were saying that both right- and left-leaning individuals would consider hitching with Arabs dangerous, but only leftists are hypocritical in their beliefs?

Either way, I'm not sure what your point is.

bloc said...

I don't know. My mother would not let me hitchhike in super-safe Switzerland... She just thought that her children might hit on the one pervert and just did not want to take the risk...
So I never hitchhiked, even when I had to wait more than 1 hour for the bus...

Batya said...

Richie, we don't ride in Arab cars. Arabs who offer rides to Jews do it disguised as Jews.
That's the importance of being able to distinguish between Arabs and Jews, which is very difficult at times. I work with Arabs. It's sometimes very difficult to know.

Richie Sevrinsky said...


So given the difficulty of distinguishing Jews from Arabs, especially for young students who have limited life experience, would you agree that hitchhiking should be entirely avoided, due to the inherent danger?

Batya said...

As statistics prove it isn't that hard. Should American kids be escorted to and from school because of possible rapists etc?

Richie Sevrinsky said...

Except that you said that it's sometimes very difficult to distinguish between Jews and Arabs, which by extension means the difference between a supposedly safe hitchhiking experience and a dangerous one.

These are your words, not mine: "It's sometimes very difficult to know."

So, again I raise the question -- without any straw men of peace agreements or American rapists:

Wouldn't you agree that hitchhiking is potentially dangerous, especially for young people who may have a harder time of sensing a dangerous situation?

bloc said...

If you want to tremp, tremp. But don't expect 2000 IDF soldiers to put their lives at stake to save you after you disregarded explicit IDF instructions.

Risk is OK, but if as an individual you wish to take risks, you should also bear the consequences as an individual.

How much does this yeshiva save by not providing adequate transport to the students? How much will this military action cost?

Batya said...

If we weren't here the terrorists would be in Tel Aviv. bloc, so that's your problem. Jews only count if they live where you approve. That's why Noam Shalit has been so silent.

Bloc said...

As far as I remember hitchhiking was generally forbidden to soldiers in 1994 after the Nachshon Wachsman kidnapping. That's true for Israel in general...

Again: Do you think it is OK that 2000 israeli soldiers put their lives at stake to save a grandma who can't afford a car?

You behave like a stupid tourist who insists going up the mountain while a thunderstorm is brewing. If this make you happy - do it. But don't expect the rescue services to risk their lives in a helicopter because of your recklessness.

bloc said...

And no, you are not making Tel Aviv safer through your presence in Shiloh...

on the contrary.

Batya said...

bloc, I don't know who you are, but it's clear what you are, and nothing I say with unblock your mind. Sorry

bloc said...

And nothing I say will unblock your mind..

Statistically, you are right: the risk of kidnapping is much lower than the risk of a simple car accident.

So you might say: The risk is next to zero, so I will just ignore it. Fine. But in this case I don't understand why they make such a big affair of this kidnapping. If you shrug away the risk, you might as well shrug away this actual kidnapping, IDF might rest their feet on the table, spit out a sunflower seed and say: "Well, we are not that interested in those boys, after all it was a calculated risk, the kidnappers should know that we do not at all care, if they want to bring them back, fine, if they don't - too bad..."

If you are not OK with this type of reaction, you should follow the IDF security instructions.

Batya said...

bloc, blogger considered you a possible spam, but I let the comment in even though I don't agree. I am a careful trampistit, as careful as one can be, though I know that just like with anything that has a potential danger, such as crossing the street, nobody is immune.
ps I'm a terror attack survivor and was even lightly injured in the attack. Just in case you don't know.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the problem is terrorists, not tremping. But we have a commandment to watch ourselves very much. (nafshoseichem in hebrew).

So this is an appropriate question for our Rabbinical leaders, our poskim.

What do they say??

All the best,

Batya said...

Ben, I would only ask a Rav from a place where tremping is the norm. Otherwise it's like asking a so-called Reform rabbi about kashrut. I also think that a rabbi who lives in chu"L should disqualify himself from questions concerning aliyah.

Bloc said...

Rav Aviner and I think Rav Druckman said you should not hitchhike.

Anonymous said...

The blueprint of the world is the Torah. And then the world was created.

So we should ask our Torah authorities what to do about hitchhiking.

(by the way - the police/military tell us not to hitchhike.)

All the best,