Bypassing Logic

Paula R. Stern,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Paula R. Stern
Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier"s Mother. The blog continues as Elie moved on to Reserve Duty, her second son, Shmuel served in Kfir and continues as her youngest son David now serves in Givati. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish. Links to the Author's blogs: * A Soldier"s MotherPaulaSays Israel Blogger...

You know how Facebook asks you what's on your mind? Well, I saw this article on Arutz 7 and that exact question came into my head. Welfare Minister Haim Katz made the news today with two comments. The first was his questioning why the numbers of new housing units to be built in Yehuda and Shomron seem to be significantly less than the amount promised by Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu in a series of getting-ready-to-campaign events. A few weeks ago, Netanyahu came to Maale Adumim with the Likud Central Committee and conducted a meeting.

Well, what he really conducted was an elaborate social/press event in which ordinary citizens got to stand around and watch the ministers and senior Likud members listen to hand-picked people who told them how much they love the Likud, how Maale Adumim is the MOST Likud city and Bibi Netanyahu the best prime minister we have EVER had!

Oh, and about those housing units - we will see 1,200 new homes built - thousands upon thousands of new residents. What they didn't mention was E1 and building there, when the houses would actually be BUILT, and whether any of them included some of the previously promised units...yet again.

The second part of Haim Katz's comments triggered a memory that I wanted to share. Katz is urging Bibi to do two things that truly seem to contradict. Or, to be more accurate, in the fictional world of politics, they sound great; in real life - disaster. What Haim Katz said was, "The time has come to build bypass roads, to prevent murder on the roads and to provide security on the roads...to build industrial plants that foster co-existence and bring people closer together..."

Now, here's the thing. Those bypass roads - they were built - at least some of them. There's one that was built years ago to bypass the Jewish population of Maale Adumim from having to drive into the increasingly dangerous Arab neighborhoods of Abu Dis and Azariya. So, then, well...the Arabs of Issawiya realized that that really cool bypass road was built right under their noses and with barely a break from lunch or dinner, they could quickly go out and toss some rocks, washing machines, coaches, flaming tires and nails down on the Israelis taking the bypass road that was supposed to be safer than the Abu Dis path.

So, being really smart, the Israelis built a bypass road to the bypass road. This one went through the mountain to emerge inside Jerusalem. They named the tunnel after Naomi Shemer...and now as the buses dodge the rocks being thrown at them on the bypass of the bypass road, you can sing "Jerusalem of Gold" in Shemer's memory.

Then there's the bypass road we know as 443, which has stoning incidents every second week, twice when the moon is up and sometimes on alternate other days as well. Oh, and there's the Beit Aryeh bypass road which cuts from Kiryat Sefer to Beit Aryeh, but because Arabs were throwing stones in the village of Luban, another smaller bypass attached to the bypass road was built. The only thing is, it isn't safe to use it at night, so then you have to bypass the bypass road and use the old road and hope they're sleeping in Luban, which used to be a really quiet little village. Then there's the Gush Etzion tunnel road which was built to bypass the Arab village through which traffic used to go - and how often to we hear about rock throwing there as well?

Haim Katz's goal of saving lives is an honorable one and I shouldn't make fun of his attempt. Bypassing the problem won't help either...nor will building more bypass roads, actually. 

So what's the solution to the missing houses? Probably the same problem as that which causes us to keep bypassing the fundamental issue. We have to decide whose land this is and act accordingly. If this is our land, if we are to live here and govern here, we need to build homes for our young couples. I have three married children who are working hard to try to afford to purchase apartments. Netanyahu's failure to meet his promise of adequate and affordable homes in Maale Adumim will have a direct and rather immediate consequence and break this mother's heart. I have the nearly unique privilege of having all three of my married children and all four of my grandchildren living within a 6 minute drive - all here in this beautiful city.

And if we are to really take that step and confirm what we all know - that Maale Adumim (at least and hopefully a lot more), will never be traded away, then we have to build and we have to stop thinking that bypassing the situation is going to stop the problems. Put another way - if there are attacks on a road like 443, Arab traffic should be halted immediately. If cars are stoned on the bypass road to Beit Aryeh and on the bypass road from Maale Adumim, those roads too should be closed to Arab traffic.

Bypass roads is so 1990. Did they save lives? Perhaps for a few weeks but ultimately, a funny thing happened every single time. The Arab rock throwers figured out where the cars were...it's now often safer to drive on the bypass road to Maale Adumim than the bypass to the bypass road (got that?).

So, what's on my mind? We have to stop bypassing the problems and make our roads safe and our yishuvim filled with life. Oh, and that other thing Katz said, about "building industrial plants that foster coexistence and bring people closer together"? I've seen Minister Haim Katz a few times but never had the honor to speak with him. Perhaps, if he has a few minutes and could stop by my house, I'd be happy to point down the hill to Mishor Adumim, where hundreds (perhaps thousands) of Palestinians work; to the Barkan Industrial area and so many others. Like the bypass roads, the industrial areas already exist.

And then I had the thought that maybe I wasn't being fair to Minister Katz - maybe that article I saw on Arutz 7 was some old article that happened to pop up...but no...it's dated today, so I'm clueless as to how a minister in the government could bypass reality so completely.

In the meantime, it's getting late and I have to be up early...I'll leave Maale Adumim, make a right turn to bypass the original road that is no longer passable and then perhaps I'll flip a coin to decide whether I should take the bypass road or the bypass to the bypass road. But, before I do that, I have to stop in Mishor Adumim to do some quick shopping (in a store that employs hundreds of Arab workers).

Oh, and I heard it might rain soon - wouldn't it be lovely if they could create this thing that sort of popped open when it rains. You know, it could like be mounted on a stick and when you press a button, it pops open. And if we are reinventing the umbrella, maybe they could design it to withstand the Israeli winds?

Or maybe I'll just bypass the umbrella and go for a raincoat.