Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)
4:55 We arrived. The days are getting shorter, it's pitch dark out, but hundreds - maybe a thousand - of workers have already passed through the checkpoint and are waiting for their rides. A few minibuses are already leaving the area.
The new commercial center building looks ready to open, but the toilet cubicles are still standing locked and evidently forgotten in the corner of the lot.
4:56 At the entrance to the building, the turnstiles that were closed open up, and a large group - maybe a hundred men and women - go in to be processed.
4:59 The turnstiles close. The people in line wait patiently.
5:05 The turnstiles open again. We go around to the other side of the building.
5:15 A man comes out whom we saw go in at 5:05, at the same time as one from the previous batch (4:56). A family group, father mother and young son, three or four years old, also got through in only ten minutes. We approached them to ask their plans. The child has a medical problem and is getting treatments at Sheba Hospital, and they didn't have a transportation. We cut short our observation to give them a ride to the hospital, and gave them phone numbers for Yad LeHahlama.