In Israel, the university academic year is about to begin, now that the Jewish holidays are past. New students and faculty are making their way to campus, and learning their way around.
Shalem College, where I work, is in a quiet, mostly residential neighborhood in south Jerusalem. A couple of days ago, one of the new Arabic language instructors, a Muslim woman from a different area of Jerusalem, requested a parking space in a usually off-limits area that is protected by security. None of the other faculty members park there, so someone from human resources asked her why. The instructor said she was afraid: The college is in a Jewish part of town, and if she parked in the regular parking, she feared that she would be attacked by Jews.
Had she known the neighborhood and the campus better, she might have known that there was nothing to worry about. Her fear is nonetheless significant. Unlike the First and Second Intifadas, it is not only Jews who are scared now — everyone is on edge.
Some of what we’re experiencing is what we have become accustomed to. Ominously, rocket fire from Gaza has resumed. The stabbings, hit-and-run attacks with cars, and attempted car bombings all continue. But something about this round is making people particularly apprehensive.
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