On Friday I got stuck trying to get home. I had been to a "simcha," a festive occasion not too far from the Yarkon Junction. I calculated that I'd have no problem getting home on one of the Israeli buses to Ariel that stop at the Yarkon Junction. The only problem was that the buses didn't stop. They were full of Arabs who work in the Tel Aviv-Petach Tikva areas. I don't know what percentage of them have work permits or not or how they get to work. But there are times of the day when the buses are so full of them, there's no room for any more passengers by the time they reach Yarkon Junction.
Finally one stopped for me. I happily got on the bus and paid the driver. Then the driver said:
"There's no room. I just let you on since someone got off from the back."Then I look around and saw that I was possibly the only Jew on the bus. I wasn't about to stand until they got off, most probably just before Ariel. So I calmly sat down on the steps near the driver. It's not the cleanest place to sit, but it's comfortable.
|Since there wasn't a free seat, and I didn't feel like doing the staring until someone got up thing.|
After another group of Arabs got off, finally I sat down on a proper seat, yes, next to an Arab. It was in the front row. And then at the bus stop at the entrance to Ariel, before the security check, the bus emptied almost completely. Then there were about three of us, all who looked like Israeli Jews, left on the bus. By the time I got off near the Ariel University I was the only passenger left. The bus driver and I discussed which stop was best for me. The driver was polite to me the entire trip, and I did feel safe. What bothers me is that the bus fares are subsidized by Israeli taxpayers. These are Israeli buses, public transportation. And it's not right that Israeli citizens should find themselves waiting at bus stops without bus service.
In Jerusalem there are these gorgeous new modern white buses that are part of an Arab bus company that connects Jerusalem to nearby Arab towns. Why can't there be something like that in the Petach Tikva area to Samaria? That way there will be room on the Israeli buses for Jews?