Our tour guide on Birthright was a goofy, knowledgeable and tiny man named Dror. Despite being two decades older than most participants, Dror was a sprightly leader who blazed through hiking trails with unusual agility as the rest of us panted and tried to catch up.
Dror was not shy about opening up and sharing his childhood experiences, like the chaos and confusion of experiencing the Yom Kippur war as a young child. We all came to appreciate his sensitivity and nuance, as well as the silly voices that he would break into to keep us entertained. For this reason, none of us thought much of his military training in search and rescue or considered him a warrior of any sorts. Until the last day of the trip.
On our final afternoon in Israel, we decided to lunch near the Jaffa flea market. As the group began to wander off in different directions, we heard loud shouting as two neighboring store owners entered into a fight about who was stealing whose customers. The verbal fight devolved into a fist fight, with the two men rolling around on the sidewalk. Suddenly, one of the men ran inside his restaurant, returned with a steak knife and lunged at the other man. Dror and many of the group members were standing across the street when this happened, but – before any of us could react – Dror leapt across the street and kicked the knife out of the man’s hand Chuck Norris-style. Dror yelled to Yair to “get the knife!” and then physically tore the two men apart, even though he was half of their size.
Most people would have been paralyzed by the situation, but Dror’s instincts and bravery successfully defused what was a very dangerous situation. Though I would not have wanted Yair to put himself in an unsafe situation, a lot of the girls on the trip (including me) were in awe of what we saw before us and couldn’t help but make the “puny American Jew” vs “strong Israeli warrior” comparison. Go Dror.
Separately, one thing that stuck with me from our visit to Sderot last week was seeing bomb shelters everywhere – attached to individual homes, at bus stops and even in local playgrounds. Many shelters have been painted and designed to blend into every day life and serve multiple purposes. Check out the photos below and, as usual, click for clearer high-resolution images:
posted by ayo
Updated on 2/21 at 10:37 am: Photos added