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My only-in-Israel moment at the Central Bus Station

This man is pushing past all of us. How DARE he! “Excuse me!” I say, standing as tall and wide as possible
Illustration by Avi Katz
Illustration by Avi Katz

A whole lot of people waiting for the bus out of Jerusalem Friday morning — hijabi woman carrying a bag of challah, girl covered in tattoos with a belly ring, a dozen soldiers dusty and going home… a rabbi, a priest and an imam… and ooohhhhhweeeeee people are impatient.

Because you have to understand something about Israel: we don’t believe in lines — OK, let me qualify that: there is ONE person in Israel who believes in lines, and that is the person who is first in it. And he or she will defend that line like it is the Lebanese border.

And today, that person is me.

I am FIRST and I will defend my spot with all my heart, with all my strength, with all my might.

For everyone else? It’s like that wildebeest scene in Lion King only with a little felafel thrown in.

Anyway, the bus is there, idle and dark and we are all crammed through the door, shuffling, churlish, hot wind blows through the terminal, I can smell Axe body spray and za’atar.

And this man is pushing past all of us – and how DARE he! We’ve been waiting here, it’s hot even though it’s just a few blinks in the morning, and I’m on very little sleep, very little coffee and indignant AF.

“Excuse me!” I say, standing as tall and wide as possible, my arms akimbo.

“There’s a line here!” (Well, sort of) “And we’ve all been waiting here. What do you think you’re doing?”

I stand my ground, Because I’ll fight injustice wherever I might find it, and right now it’s here in Jerusalem at the bus terminal on a Friday morning and my purpose is clear: I am Sarah, the defender of the line.

The man looks at me and rolls his eyes.

“Move please,” he says and he steps up to the bus door.

Those are fighting words and I am ready, but then the hijabi woman with the challah taps me on the shoulder and says in Hebrew “habibti, he’s the bus driver.”


“Don’t be in such a rush. It’s almost Shabbat!”

Chastened, I let her get on the bus before me.

The bus driver winks at me.

”Shabbat Shalom, kapara”

“Shabbat Shalom.”

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Times of Israel's New Media editor, lives in Israel with her two kids in a village next to rolling fields. Sarah likes taking pictures, climbing roofs, and talking to strangers. She is the author of the book Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered. Sarah is a work in progress.