At first glance, the Gilo junction in Jerusalem by the Tunnel Road, which leads to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, seemed little different this past Monday than it did any other day. Yet a closer look and a few conversations with some of the youths waiting there for a lift, told another story.

Days after the kidnapping of three yeshiva students and despite attempts to go on with business as usual, nothing was quite the same. As the press has noted, both adults and young students have continued to hitch rides at all the junctions on the roads inside the Gush Etzion region. For many observers, this is as close as it gets to tempting fate, but for the residents of the region and the students of the various yeshivot, it is the most common and natural way to get around – first, because public transportation is rare and not so efficient, and second, because the people here refuse to be intimidated, arguing that for them, this is home, and at home, one is not supposed to be afraid.

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