Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)

Anneline K., Tamar H., Varda Z. (reporting). Hanna K. translating


Irtah/Sha'ar Efrayim. Dawn. It is rainy. The routine is a bit less pressurized.

05:00 Near the entrance to the installation, there is the flank of the dividing fence: the gatesinfo-icon are opened in time and the amuck run to the magnometer begins. The turnstiles remain open until the square is full, then are shut until it is empty. This is he entrance pulsation.

The women gate is not opened, even not for a moment, as on every Friday.

The young men climb over the fence and under the barbed wire in what has become a habit and routine, in order to reach the beginning of the queue. The women are intermixed in the men's queue.

Tamar tries to take photos, but soldiers approach her and forbid it and try to prevent us from being there. The usual dialogue ensues, at the end of which they leave us alone provided we do not take photos.


At 05:15 we choose a man who is in the square in order to check how long it will take him to reach the Israeli side. He comes out at 05:27. This is a quick exit.


It's a very rainy day and fewer people than usual push to enter. As we are supposed to meet soon the passage authorities, we ask the Hebrew speakers "what bothers you at the passage. What would you like to change?"

The answers:

A.    First of all an open and safe separate passage for women.

B.     To open more windows in the evening, especially on Fridays – there are 14 windows, but on this Friday only 5 are open.

C.    To open earlier on Fridays – this is a request which we heard in the past. (One recognizes the anxiety of the men to lose the employers' transportation which leaves at 05:45.

In a conversation people tell us that a contractor who gets an authorization for a worker – pays the Office of Employment about 1000 IS for this authorization (this depends on the kind of work: between 800 to 1300). Sometimes the contractor absorbs the sum and sometimes he takes is off the worker's wages, depending on the contractor's personality. A worker who wishes to be released from a certain contractor, must generally pay him a compensation, in addition to the payment made by the contractor, generally twice the cost of the contractor. We didn't check whether the story was true.

A man whose ID card disappeared in the process of the checking, came out. Of the two possibilities – one, that the card fell somewhere during the dressing up and the collection of the belongings, the other that somebody took it by mistake (after all they are 14 people in the room during the checking process) – one can examine the first. His endeavours to return and look for his card are not successful. I go to the offices to ask that they open the room up for him or look for the card for him, but am confronted with obtuseness and unwillingness to help by the watchman: let him get help from his friends who did not come out yet. In the end he consents: Ok, let him come here and explain. It was not really necessary because the regulation gate - which is opened when the pressure on the exit turnstile grows – is opened. This was the opportunity that enabled the man to return to the installation. After a long time he came out without the card. I was probably taken by somebody else. We hope it will have been returned to him during Saturday. Otherwise it means he won't be able to work for many weeks until a new card is issued to him.