How do you NOT know?

Gee…that was a challenge.

My ankle is better, but still not there. Worse, I keep abusing it by walking too much and not keeping it elevated. I’m trying – but I’m not the greatest when it comes to taking care of myself. It’s something I inherited and by the time my mother learned to take care of herself – the lesson she had taught me was too deeply ingrained. I’m trying to break it – and not succeeding nearly well enough – case in point, my ankle.

Elie, my husband, and Shmulik are wonderful. They are doing all they can to drive me wherever, whenever. Today, it was Elie again. We talked of his wedding, plans for travel they have, where they will live, and the traffic. Oh, the traffic. There is a pattern in Israel. Some days, it is bad. Other days it is worse – and yet, nothing rivals the traffic jams I remember as a young driver trying to get into New York City. For the most part, the traffic in Israel moves…slowly.

The problem is, I’ve been here long enough to forget that some people think that when the traffic is at least moving, that’s an improvement. So, today, we sailed up the mountain towards Jerusalem, sailed past the checkpoint. Yes, we watched the soldiers enter and walk through both a Jewish bus and an Arab bus in the seconds we passed through the third (relatively clear) lane of traffic.

And then, we hit the jam coming through the tunnel under Mount Scopus and Jerusalem’s prestigious Hebrew University. On the other side of the tunnel, more traffic. We came to a light and Elie said something about the car in front of us. It was an unmarked police car.

“How can you tell it’s a police car?” I asked him.

“How do you not know?” he asked – and then he pointed out one very clear indication and explained what it was. He told me that one time while on a checkpoint, a car approached. The men inside were in regular clothes; the license plate on the car a regular Israeli license plate. In Israel, we have the standard yellow background with black numbers, red background with white letters (police); black background with white letters (army); and white background with green numbers (usually non-Israeli Arab vehicles.

As the car approached, he said something to the policemen. “How do you know we are policemen?” one asked Elie.

“How could anyone not know?” Elie answered him. First, Israeli cars weren’t allowed in that area – only Arab vehicles. Second – there was the same tell-tale sign Elie pointed out to me. “Do you think the Arabs can’t tell that you’re police?” has asked them. “They know better than anyone.”

Well, I didn’t know – although now I do. Of course, that isn’t going to change how I drive, but at least now, I can smile a bit. I won’t say what the thing is, but after Elie described this scene with the police officers, I could just see them pulling up and having this young soldier blow their cover. They thought they were so cool, so anonymous…and this 20-year-old kid IDs them. Yeah, I love it.

2 Comments on How do you NOT know?

  1. Hmmm. Now I am really curious! I don’t live in Israel nor have ever been there… but is it because their license plates usually end in 00? Please tell!

  2. Alison,

    the same way you will be able to guess who are the plain-clothes cops on Orchard Road in Singapore – the MAIN tourist drag with ZERO uniformed officers. Not too many countries like that!

    Two or three muscular young men walking along the street, NOT constantly checking out the hot babes.

    – US Navy Officer

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