New to the blogosphere and a previous yored* who has just returned to Israel with his family, and to teach at Hartman, Dr. Alex Sinclair recently wrote a post about a creative way of solving his dilemma between his values and his loathing of traffic:
The quickest way [to Jerusalem] is to take the lovely new Road 443 which zips you from Modiin to Jerusalem in under half an hour. Beautiful new road, no traffic, stress-free, brilliant. The alternative is to take good old “kvish mispar echad” (Road Number 1), which is the main Tel Aviv -Jerusalem highway. In the middle of the day, or later on in the evening, when there is no traffic, this is only about 5 minutes longer than the 443. But any other time that has the faintest whiff of rush hour about it turns Road Number 1 into a parking lot. “So what’s the problem? Just take 443!” Well, one of the reasons that 443 is so quick is that it cuts through over the Green Line, into territories captured by Israel in the 6 day war. And while the road was originally designed for use by, and indeed was used by, the Palestinian Arab communities who live alongside it (it also zips you to Ramallah in no time at all), the entrance/exit roads to those villages were closed off after several drive-by shootings, some fatal, during the Al-Aksa intifada. So now it’s one of those, ahem, “apartheid” roads, that you read about on the news.
So here is the solution I have come up with: Peace offsets.
You know, like carbon offsets? When Al Gore gets all upset about global warming but then runs up a huge bill air conditioning his mansion, he gives money to various organisations that promise to “offset” his carbon footprint by planting trees, investing in renewable energy, etc. I figure, why not do the same with Road 443? Every time I drive on it, I will make a small donation to Peace Now or a similarly worthy group.
You all should also read his op-ed from the Jerusalem report about the importance of Jews expressing their opinions about Israel at a young age. Finally, a public shout-out to Dr. Sinclair (with a touch of Robbie Gringras on the side) who taught me that it was alright for my relationship with Israel to be like a committed lover: connected always, but with room for criticism, discussion, and differences of opinion.
* one who has Israeli citizenship and then leaves Israel