The airport doors swung open, and there to greet me were some 15-20 uniformed men and one woman. They were all but cracking their knuckles in relish as I walked up to them, heart falling slightly as I looked into their blank and malicious faces. Being of indomitable spirit, I carried on regardless and asked for their help as my friends were being attacked. I understod it was pointless. Everyone in that airport at that moment was either uniformed security, police or plain clothed agents. The men shooed the gathered journalists away and to my chagrin they meekly obeyed - so much for investigative journalism in Israel. I was on my own as the doors closed. It felt like a cartoon story. Over my head there could have been a speech ballon saying "ERK!"
One large man made a grab at my mobile. I reacted by wanting to keep my mobile. He made a lunge at my throat, but still my instinct was to hold on to what was mine. Others joined him and at one time 5 burly men and women set upon me. With the suitcase still in my hand, two shoulder bags over my arm and the mobile still firmly in my hand I did what I could to stay on my feet. At times like this you discover just how much strength you have, and the men were sweating hard - all for one little mobile!
Clearly I was outnumbered, and eventually my legs were taken from under me, my mobile spilled on the floor, I landed face down on the hard floor and the large man, whose name was LEVI pressed his knees into my back. Game Over. My arms were dragged behind my back and my hands tightly and roughly handcuffed. Welcome to Israel!
The hours dragged by and my arms became swollen from the handcuffs. I was told I was being taken to to see my friends, instead I was taken to a room where I was jeered at by uniformed men and women. Three uniformed people sat round a table and spent about a hour concocting some kind of statement which I was then asked to sign. It was written in Hebrew, and obviously I was not going to sign it. I did wonder just what kind of statement could justify such treatment of an unarmed woman who was simply asking for their help. But I was in Israel, and I was only just beginning to learn the truth about lies.
Finally, and after several times of asking, the handcuffs were removed and the feeling started to return to my right hand. I was told that I was NOW being taken to see my friends. Instead I was taken to a ladies room where I was crowded by about 20 women, jeered at, and the contents of my lugage strewn, then shoved back into my bag. This was bit of a relief because at least 5 women were wearing rubber gloves, the fingers of which which they 'pinged' ominously. It really does take more than that to humiliate someone like me.
They then said they were taking me to my hotel. I practically laughed because we had not booked one. I was led out by the arms - guards on both sides and an additional escort of several more, and put in a police transport vehicle. These windowless tin cans have compartments built in so that only 3 prisoners at a time can fit in each. There are up to 5 such rows of cramped seating and they become quite unpleasant in the heat, and they are full of cockroaches.
All this time I was trying not to think of the treatment of Jews by the Nazi's. I was trying not to think how the Jews were systematically lied to as they were moved to ever more oppressive conditions. I tried not to see the similarities of being packed into tin cans without water, without access to toilets, without recourse to laws, isolated from those who could help. I tried not to think this way but I could hear people banging at the back of the van, shouting out 'she is sick', 'please let us have some water', and noticing that no relief was forthcoming. I peered out through the small band of wire mesh to see guards smoking and laughing and it was there. Israel was doing to me what had been done to them in Nazi Germany. I thought of my Italian family lost to the holacaust. I thought of their train journeys of deprivation and humiliation and slow death. I thought, these Jews are not the kind, loving British Jews I have known all my life. These Jews are facists.