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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

It ain't gonna happen

I had to go to the Misrad HaPnim (Ministry of the Interior) today to check on a passport that was supposed to be delivered... but hadn't been (long story for another day).

At the entrance to the government building where the ministry is located, there is a typical Israeli security screening set-up, and citizens who are armed need to hand over their weapons for safekeeping (no guns are allowed inside).

After I had handed over my gun and was waiting for my receipt from the guard, a woman who was waiting to go through the metal detector began talking to me in English in something between a loud spoken voice and a soft yell:

"Hey, You... why do you have a gun? Are you a settler? Is it so you can harass, threaten and murder Palestinians? Is it so you can take their land at gunpoint?"

As she spoke, her volume slid slowly up the speak-yell continuum until everyone in the large lobby was staring at her (and me). She was clearly a foreigner - northern Europe or Scandinavia would be my guess - with a non-descript accent that could have been from anywhere... but certainly not a native English speaker.

She was blond and dressed in faded jeans, leather sandals, a loose cotton shirt, and had a red and white Kaffiya looped around her neck. She also wore a cloth purse slung over her shoulder that was made of a material bearing the same check pattern as her Kaffiya.

I've encountered crazies before, and knew better than to feed her mania.  So I simply took the receipt for my gun from the guard, assumed my place at the end of the line for the metal detector... and studiously ignored the lunatic.

Not willing to be ignored, she left her place ahead of me on line and walked back to where I was standing... all the while continuing to loudly share her suppositions about my sordid career as a thief of innocent Palestinians land.

In my experience, there is nothing you can say to people who are able to get their crazy on in public before you've even opened your mouth. So I just smiled at her and began shaking my head while softly repeating, "It aint gonna happen" every few seconds as one might say 'amen' in response to another's prayer.  I wanted her to understand that I was not going to be drawn into a public, political debate.  No way, no how.

Very shortly one of the female security personnel came jogging over and gently (but firmly) steered the woman away from me towards a nearby side-room.

Within seconds two male security guards with curly ear pieces fell in ahead and behind them... and before you could say "Ahmed's your uncle" the quartet had disappeared behind the slamming door of whatever room they reserve for such 'guests'.

Everyone went back to shuffling through the metal detector... and before long it was my turn to go through.

When I was putting my keys and change into the little plastic tray, the guard working the machine leaned in and asked me what I had said to her.

I assured him that I hadn't said anything to set her off.

He said, "But I could hear you saying something over and over to her. I just didn't understand it.".

A little light bulb went on over my head, and I explained the slang expression "It aint gonna happen" to him.

He smiled and whispered, "I'm sure she's probably going to hear something like that in response to her request to extend her tourist visa".

Insha'Allah!  (G-d willing)

Posted by David Bogner on May 2, 2012 | Permalink

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Have I mentioned lately how fabulous you are???

Posted by: Leora Hyman | May 2, 2012 3:56:52 PM

you have so much more self control than I do.

Posted by: dave | May 2, 2012 5:38:16 PM

I second Dave. But you are right, nothing you can say will change her mind.

Posted by: Max Power | May 2, 2012 5:51:19 PM

Well Done!
"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise" - a proverb of Solomon

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | May 2, 2012 10:18:14 PM

Hee hee hee.

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | May 2, 2012 11:22:40 PM

Awesome.

Posted by: SaraK | May 3, 2012 10:32:14 AM

I third Dave; I wish I had that self control, and maybe - just maybe - the next time something similar happens to me, your post will inspire me to try and do as you did. Well done you!

Posted by: Ellis | May 3, 2012 12:21:41 PM

Maybe a problem with her meds,in any case she was lucky she picked you and not someone with a short fuse.

Posted by: ED | May 3, 2012 6:15:45 PM

Oy. Gives us left wing pinko palestinian loving freaks a bad name.

Posted by: Jordan | May 3, 2012 8:12:18 PM

Like! :-)

Posted by: Alisha | May 4, 2012 4:04:46 PM

I wish that there was a like button on here, like there is on facebook. The amount of self-control that that took, and just your response...I respect you very very much.

Posted by: Griffin | May 4, 2012 7:54:28 PM

Nice. [Cue subtle high-five here.]

Posted by: rutimizrachi | May 6, 2012 6:04:10 PM

And let us all say: Heh.

Kol ha-kavod, David. Awesome.

Posted by: Rahel | May 10, 2012 12:23:27 AM

I think I've seen a woman with that exact same purse at a demo in the Bay Area.

Posted by: Balabusta in Blue Jeans | May 28, 2012 7:04:28 AM

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