חשמונאים (ניעלין), מכבים (בית סירה)
05:10 Macabbim checkpoint. The parking lot appears less crowded than on previous visits.
A sparse yet constant flow of people emerges from the inspection lane.
Two people approach us, complaining that the checkpoint doesn’t open earlier. They say it opens at 05:00, but they arrive at 03:30 or 04:00 in order to avoid a long wait on line and in hopes of getting to work early.
There’s no line at the entrance to inspection when we’re there; people go through pretty quickly except for those waiting for their IDs to be returned, which they say takes about 15 minutes.
05:45 Na’alin checkpoint. Pandemonium in the parking lot. Many people emerge from inspection. One says that about a week ago new equipment was installed in one of the rooms next to the inspection lane, photographing people selected randomly, five at a time. They described it as an X-ray machine, a kind of screen people must stand in front of while the inspector sits at a computer in an adjoining room. He himself wasn’t “scanned,” but saw others called. He said he’s concerned about possible harm to people with health problems.
Another man tells us the crossing goes quickly today; it only takes about five minutes.
Still another, from East Jerusalem, who arrived by car says there’s a new procedure for checking vehicles. They insert a hose, like that of a vacuum cleaner, into the car and suck air from it. He said he hoped they’re not using the hose to put anything in the car.
We tried to locate the checkpoint’s shift supervisor to ask about the innovations we’d heard about, but weren’t successful. One of the checkpoint guards told us they’re in fact using a hose to inspect vehicles; it’s less intrusive, faster and more efficient.