Trauma and racism are an inescapable part of Israeli society, especially on days when the drums of war are beating.
The bike ride along the outdoor platform of Tel Aviv’s central bus station takes about a minute north to south.
The area, long neglected by the city, has become home to junkies, sex workers, the homeless, asylum seekers, and Palestinian day laborers.
It’s also a hub for Israeli soldiers on their way to or from base. Old, half-shredded posters of Eritrean pop singers and fundamentalist Jewish religious figures warning of the End Times line the drab concrete wall that does full justice to the building’s brutalist architecture.
I usually take my time and walk through, out of respect for pedestrians trying to make their way to the sherut (“service”) taxis — yellow mini-buses that travel across the country to places as far as Tiberias or Ashdod whose drivers share a single common attribute: unyielding impatience.
This morning, however, I was late for work and couldn’t afford the time to saunter. I crossed the street and turned left on the platform, peddling past a group of soldiers standing at the northern entrance to the station.
Next to them were five female Border Police officers surrounding a man in his 30s in sagging pants and a gray hoodie. They were examining his green ID card — he must have been Palestinian laborer from the West Bank. I slowed down, weary from a sight that repeats itself ad nauseam only to see that they had returned his ID and let him go. I breathed a sigh of relief and continued on.Read More