Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
Irtah, Efrayim gate, Friday, 13.12.13, dawn
Irtah/Sha'ar Efraiym, dwan
A rainy, stormy dawn – but a leisurely one.
05:01 We reach the separation fence – the checkpoint is open. Everyone arriving enters immediately. There are no lines in the fenced corridors. People run across the open area from the turnstile to the scanner facility, covering up with anything they can. The rain is heavy, driven by the wind. We notice a few women.
05:10 On our way to the exit the duty guard who’s freezing tries to understand what we’re doing here at this still-desolate hour…
No one had yet come through when we arrived. The first exited at 05:18. We tried to find out where the few working today were employed: cleaning staff on the 06:00-14:00 shift. And, to our surprise – agricultural workers, primarily in strawberries fields including women. One touches my coat, says “It’s a good coat.” When we ask whether they don’t have a day off because of the rain, they say: If we don’t work we don’t get paid. One says: What are we – Jews? There’s no paid vacation.
05:35 We left. It was quiet, calm, cold and very miserable.