By Naomi Leitner
Naomi Leitner is an attorney in Israel.
This is a personal view of life at Israel’s narrowest point. I live some 8 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. This sounds lovely and picturesque. My son and his friends sometimes walk to the beach with a picnic lunch. It is no big deal for a teenager to walk 8 miles with a backpack. But it does make me shudder to think how quickly enemy soldiers could transverse Israel at its narrow waistline. And of course, the enemy is very near.
You see: if I live 8 miles from the sea, I live about 1 mile away from the PA. That’s not a lot. Before Israel started building the security fence, we used to see dozens of young Palestinian men crossing into Israel on foot every time we passed by. Most were simple, poor people looking for work and you hesitate to stop a man who wants to put a bit of bread on the table, even if he is an illegal alien. Some came to steal – I believe we had the highest rate of auto theft in the world. It got so bad that, being the only lawyer in my apartment building, I had the stamps and papers ready at all times to take affidavits attesting to the fact that a car had been stolen. I lost the habit of asking what the matter was – just took the sworn statements as a matter of course.
But all this is a quaint annoyance compared to the real problem: mixed in with the laborers and the thieves were murderers who came to kill us and to kill our children. The fence has made their lives more difficult. A couple of months ago, a band of these murderers go stuck at the fence and, going around the long way, were stopped at a roadblock. The soldiers noticed the suicide belts and the terrorists were taken in for questioning. Under interrogation their goal was disclosed: my daughter’s elementary school! These evil murderers had hoped to sneak into the schoolyard during recess and explode themselves among the children.
So you see, life is not so simple when you live in a country that is only 9 miles wide. What would you do if it were you or your children they were coming to blow up?