Imagine the situation….our first day of hitch-hiking. We are quite experienced in it, not so big distance for a day (something like 300 km),we have all needed equipment, Pierre have already been in this places, and we are going to Dead see to stand with a tent, so no worries or rush from our side, just desire to enjoy road by itself. To the turn to Dead See we’re getting already in the evening, when it started to become dark.
Still no worries. Weather is perfect, we are walking across the road till the bus stop – easier to hitch next car. And cars are becoming rarer and rarer. No worries, we are just in 50 km from destination.
What we didn’t know, that the hitch-hiking is not working in Israel in the night time. Specifics of the country.
So…after 3 hours…
Israel, dark time( around 10-11 pm.) and we are in 40km from closest city(still in 50 km from destination place), in fact in the middle of desert. Standing on the bus station and trying to hitch anything just to get out from this place (empty, dark and for me pretty scary). Thanks God there is some light at this place, but it is the only light in visibility around. Really rare cars are just not stopping.
Yes, not so great situation, but we have a tent to sleep, food to eat, no worries.
He returns from searches, turning me to the side from where he came and just silently directing a light on small sign on the right, just in 10 meters from the road. In that moment I’ve understood in how huge trouble we are….mines fields. Along the entire road were landmines fields. Pierre was walking on it before he saw a sign and thanks only God that nothing happened with him. It was not visible anything from the other side of the road and there was no desire to go and check.
We just had to get out from that place, as we couldn’t step away from the road – only safe place. And from that moment we started to use emergency signs to stop any car any direction. With lights, waving hands and maximally showing that we are not dangerous. Nobody stopped. As last idea we just blocked the road (stood in the middle) so no car could pass and FINALLY car with 3 Arabs stopped and took us just to our destination place. Thanks God we got there. Somewhere after 1 am. Exhausted and really careful about each step we are making.
Next time where we met it again – on the way to Jordan, where we went for baptizing. Last 6 km from closest bus station we decided to walk. But it was not possible to get there on foot. On the last kilometers we couldn’t just walk – only on transport. It is a military area around Jordan and only one road which leads from enter to river. And around this road from both sides – mines fields.
According to data from the Survivors Corps organization, published in a document by the Knesset Research center in 2010, there are as many as 260,000 land mines in Israel. The minefields are scattered over more than 33,000 dunams (8,250 acres) of open space, farmland and near communities, but are mainly found in the Golan Heights, the Arava and near Israel’s borders. In the Golan Heights alone more than 36,000 dunams (9,000 acres) are suspected of being mined – some by the Syrian army until 1967 and some by the Israel Defense Forces after the Six-Day War.
Our advice that if you’re going to Israel by yourself, be really careful on the places out from the main roads and cities. Compare your plan of trip with maps of landmines fields and listen to locals. That’s what we did all the rest of our trip.