Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)

Edith Maor and Nitza Herzog

We arrived a little late, at 4:05 the first people had already gotten through the checkpoint.

People we watched for got through in ten to fifteen minutes.

At the start our impression was that everything was peaceful. Around five we noticed more crowding and tension, people started climbing over the roof to skip the line. A checkpoint official shouted threats not to do this, ineffectively.

One man came to us with complaints. He said that when it rains water blows into the area where they wait for transportation, and a large puddle forms. He also complained about getting back to Irtach; he said that there was no organized transport, and people often have to walk several kilometers, from Netanya to Bet Lid, after a full day's work.

We noticed several men at the exit gate from the checkpoint, trying to get back in just a few minutes after they got out. They said that they had the choice of working for five shekels an hour, or not working, and decided not to put in the effort.

As usual, people waited around near the parking lot after getting through the checkpoint. Evidently they still worry about getting through in a timely fashion.