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We will continue to hitchhike
By RABBI YUVAL SHERLO
20/06/2014
The objective of terror is to disrupt life’s routines and to sow dread and fear among the public; therefore we will not give in, and we will continue to hitchhike in Judea and Samaria.
 
The objective of terror is to disrupt life’s routines and to sow dread and fear among the public.

Therefore we will not give in, and we will continue to hitchhike in Judea and Samaria – with increased awareness and minimizing risks as much as possible. That is why you, car owners, must take hitchhikers even for short rides. In this way we will become a kinder society The criticism of hitchhiking in Judea and Samaria has two basic flaws: the first is not recognizing reality. Just as a religious arbiter must be acquainted with the reality of a matter before he says what seems to him to be the word of G-d – anyone who expresses himself on a specific subject should understand it well.

It seems that those who oppose hitchhiking are simply not acquainted with reality: they are not aware of the need to move from one place to another, the lack of proper public transportation, and the culture of mutual support that exists in our communities. And therefore, many of the things that are said do not pass the test of reality.

The second flaw is the hypocrisy and manipulation of the moral arguments.

The same people who, to make a total distinction between a righteous person and an evil one, claim that one should not criticize a woman who was attacked in any way, and she must not be blamed even if she herself behaved flirtatiously and seductively – have no problem saying that if someone is harmed because he was hitchhiking, he bears the responsibility for it. I have said many times that a moral argument is harmed the most when it is used only when it supports your point of view, but not used when it contradicts your point of view.

But above all it is important to have the basic awareness of our lifestyle in every part of the Land of Israel. The objective of terror is not to achieve a great number of casualties, and it can exist even without casualties. The objective of terror is to disrupt the normal routines of life, and to sow dread and fear among the public.

More than anything else, the victory over terror will be achieved by society not surrendering to it, and not allowing it to disrupt the normal routines of life. Society continues as it was, and this conveys the message that nothing will break it, and that the attempts at terror will be met with a wall of determination and resilience. As a result, it is very reasonable to assume that we and our children will continue to hitchhike in Judea and Samaria. This is proper, and this is the reality of how we live during our times.

In light of this, we must ask ourselves what we can do within this framework of principles in order to maintain our well-being and that of others, and in order not to bring about complicated events such as that which we are experiencing these days. It is as if we are speaking of two things of which we must be aware.

First, awareness and striving for safety and security. There is no reason why we should not be more cautious; to regard a ride suspiciously when we are not acquainted with the occupants; to note whether they seat us in the front seat, despite the fact that there are others in the back seat, and so forth. There is no commandment from the Torah to endanger life, and we did not choose a way of life that may harm ourselves, or take unnecessary risks.

Also, there is no prohibition against taking public transportation when it is available, and there is no commandment from the Torah to roam around the streets at late hours.

When necessary – we do it, but we may also weigh the benefits of normalcy against the costs, and the benefits of convenience against the possibility that great pain may result.

“And Your Brother will Live too”, in its simple interpretation But the main principle is directed especially toward the car owners: Your great contribution to minimizing the danger of hitchhiking will be when we take upon ourselves anew to pick up hitchhikers, a lot of them.

Even if they are annoying; even if they talk on the telephone; even if they behave as if they are in charge; even if it is not pleasant for us; even when it is for short distances.

The more we ourselves decide to behave according to the commandment of the Torah – “And your brother will live too”, and as required by simple humanity we are more responsive to the needs of others – the more, with positive deeds, we will succeed in significantly minimizing the number of those at risk on the roads.

There is nothing more correct than asking ourselves what we can do in order to contribute to connecting our lives with a natural courtesy, together with refraining from endangering ourselves, thereby also changing our society into a more benevolent society.

This article was translated by Sally Zahav for Women in Green.
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