It was one year ago; I was driving my white semi-truck on the highway between Ramallah and Nablus, near the Ofra army camp. The atmosphere was wonderful and I was listening to Om Kalthom. After a few hours I heard that something was wrong with my truck. I lowered the sound, parked the truck on the side of the road, and got out to check the transmission. There was, indeed, a serious problem. I called my mechanic and he told me he wouldn’t be able to come for 4 hours. I had to wait on the side of the road. I went back to my truck to take a nap until he came.
After less than an hour Israeli soldiers came and asked me what I was doing there. I was incredibly scared.
“You are not allowed to be here and you have to move in the next 30 minutes.” They told me.
“I will but I’m alone (oh god, I have to wait 3 hours more). Am I going to be in trouble?”
The soldiers left. Time passed and another officer came to me. He scrolled down the window. He was frightening, bald headed with a dark look. He asked me: “Do you need help man?”
“I wish, but you can’t. My mechanic is on his way.” After about 20 minutes the first soldier came back. He was yelling: “I said you have to leave! Why are you still here?”
“Sir, I know but my truck doesn’t move. I’m waiting for my mechanic. Please give me one more hour, please,” I begged. I was terrified.
“No you’re not allowed to be here. It’s not safe for you to be here.
“Not safe for me??! So what should I do?”
He paused for a moment and said: “I will pull your truck to the army office where you’ll stay until tomorrow morning.”
I was sure they would kill me. “I’m a friend, I don’t want any trouble” I tried. But they took me to the army office. Once there I realize that everyone was staring at me. Only soldiers… Oh God! I’m going to die, save me!
The soldier who probably understood what was going on in my mind came to me and told me to relax: “Don’t worry, you’re going to be safe here,” and he asked me if I wanted to eat or drink… I was starting to be very hungry and thirsty, but I lied and told him I was fine. At 10 pm I am alone in an army office, starving and scared. I turn around, lie down, and try to sleep on my back, on my side, on my stomach… I just can’t fall asleep. Looking at the ceiling I try to understand what is happening to me, wondering if I will ever see my family again. I don’t remember falling asleep but in the morning somebody woke me up. He was smiling and nice. The captain walked me to my truck.
“Good morning. I hope you slept well,” he told me.
“Of course! I slept very well.”
He called a tow truck that took me and my truck back to Hebron.
The weather was already so hot but I didn’t feel the heat, I thought it was an amazing morning! I felt comfortable and happy. I was still alive and on my way home. I was talking out loud to myself: “They can be good, they were nice to me… those were good people. “And I continued praying: “God please make peace between us.”
Three or four weeks passed when one day, as I was on my way home, I saw an Israeli car on the side of the road trying to stop me for help. When I recognized the Israeli plate I thought that I couldn’t stop for a Jew… but passing him, I remembered the soldiers and what they did for me. I stopped my truck, drove reverse and said: “Shalom, do u speak Arabic or English?” He said he spoke English was asking for help because he was stuck in the middle of the road. “I will help you” I said. I will bring you and you to Hizma.”
“Is it safe for me?!!!!”
“Hahahaha. Don’t worry, I’m with you.” I attached his car to my truck with a rope and started to drive
When we arrived in Hizma I looked at him and saw how scared he was. I probably had the same look on my face when I was in the army office. “Get down come help me.” I said.
“YaLa! I’m coming”, he kept looking nervously around him. I tried to reassure him, “It is safe! Many Jews come here to fix their car!”
I couldn’t manage to loosen the knot I made with the rope, so I just cut it. “I have to pay for your rope!” I told him not to worry about it. He thanked me a lot and we shook hands. He gave me his business card to call him in the future.
Driving home I debated whether I did the right thing or not. At home I saw my mother and told her about the event. I was sure she would be mad at me, but she told me that I was good to help people, Jewish or Christian. That it’s good to help people. But my older brother looked angry. “Oh god I’m going be in trouble,” I thought. He seemed very upset: “Okay, you help him. Fine…. But why did you cut the rope?”
“Don’t worry he paid me”. We all smiled.