I always knew that Israeli drivers were deranged, second only in madness to the Italians, so what happened did not shock me. What did shock me was the aftermath.
I was driving along a Jerusalem road when a car appeared on a small side street. The driver saw me, and I fully expected him to wait until I passed. But he was impatient. He darted out in full throttle, made a screeching turn directly in front of me, and sped down the road. Had I not swerved and slammed on my brakes he would have struck my car.
I was furious. I drove behind him, honking my horn repeatedly just to let him know that he was a fool. These demented Israeli drivers, I muttered to myself, always in a hurry, filled with chutzpah, oblivious to the dangers they pose to everyone around them. This country is filled with driving schools and no one knows how to drive.
It did not help alleviate my road rage when I noticed that his car was flying a blue ribbon – supporting the withdrawal – while I am a staunch man of orange. I also noticed that he was not wearing a kippah. Aha! This madman was a reckless secular supporter of the Gaza withdrawal. Wait until he stops at the next light, I’ll give him a good tongue lashing.
A moment later he stopped at the light. I pulled in beside him, rolled down my window, and motioned to him. He rolled down his window, ready for the confrontation. His wife sitting beside him cringed, expecting the worst.
I don’t know what came over me at that moment, but somehow, like a certain heathen prophet with whom I would rather not be compared, the words that emanated from my throat were not the words I thought I would utter. I said to him: “You have a blue ribbon and I have an orange one, but we are both Jews, right?”
Puzzlement covered his face. “Most definitely,” he said.
“And we both love Israel, right?”
“For sure.” He was completely bewildered.
“Wonderful,” I said as pleasantly as I could, a smile on my face. “May God bless you with all good things. May you have good fortune in all that you do, and good health and long life.”
His jaw dropped, and he looked at me as if I were a lunatic. “Thank you, thank you,” he finally blurted out.
Then, after a long pause, he added, “By the way, I apologize for what I did back there. It was stupid and I am truly sorry” – which will enter the Guiness Book of Records as the very first time in the history of mankind that a reckless Israeli driver apologized for anything.
The light turned green. He made a left turn, I a right, and we went our separate ways.
This article first appeared in the Jerusalem Post, August 24.