The light rail in Jerusalem is up and running, and has quickly become the symbol of modernity in this ancient city.
For me, on my ten minute joy ride on the tram each day to base, has become a microcosm of the schisms which exists in my home town.
I board the train, like a wide eyed youth with endless prospects. Excited by this original experience of clean public transport, a rare occurrence in any country. Eager to choose a seat without fear of contracting a disease I look for a decent spot to nest my tuchus. I’m in army uniform, and don’t want to make the man with a stellar moustache sipping on Turkish coffee, who clearly identifies as Palestinian uncomfortable by sitting next to him. So I head toward the seat behind him, but there is a woman mumbling to an invisible friend, as I get closer I realize she is holding a prayer book, I don’t sit next to her because I don’t want her to feel restricted in prayer by my alpha-male presence.
In the seat behind the woman there is another man mumbling to himself, I figure, it’s okay to sit next to him if he’s praying because I too, am a man. As I get closer I understand he isn’t praying, so I start praying, hoping he is wearing a Bluetooth piece in his other ear, I’m almost seated and see that he isn’t. He is just insane… I dodge him by an inch and settle next to an Ashkenazi woman who reminds me of my grandmother, the seat is too small for her toosh so I sit uncomfortably on the quarter of a seat she has left me, feeling physically uncomfortable but ideologically pleased that I am sitting politically correctly.
It could have been worse, I could have inflamed haemorrhoids.