Fear and loathing in Jerusalem: to bus or not to bus?
There are contrasting signals that come to the traveller in Jerusalem. Before I left I was made to sware that I would not take the Israeli buses (Egged). Bus=suicide bomb=danger.
When I arrived at the Hebrew University we were told NEVER to take the Arab minibuses (sherut). Arab bus=beheading=danger.
Luckily I'm happy to take the taxis as they're fairly cheap. But there's something bigger going on here: fear and courage in equal measure.
Many Israeli/Jewish friends tell me that we should absolutely take the bus, that otherwise the terrorists win, that we must have the courage to let life go on as usual. I admire their bravery especially when you see a bus with a little flag and a bunch of flowers on the dash board. This signifies that a bus on this route has been blown-up.
Yet, in the face of this courage there is fear, fear of the Arabs, fear to even rub shoulders with them. It, like the fear of buses, is irrational. There are many who will not ride an Arab sherut, and won't even go to the Muslim Quarter. There must be courage to live life, but also to spend time with the other side.