Wild Tank Ride! Negev Desert 1971

(Fred’s Blog 2017 Travel Highlights)

It is a great pleasure to welcome back Susan Joyce with this terrific entry for the 2017 Travel Highlights Competition. Here is her intro to a very special highlight:
As a young American female, I never hitchhiked and never dreamed I might one day need to do just that. While living in the Negev Desert of Israel one scorching hot summer day, I watched the last bus to my village disappear into the distance. I had missed my ride home. Uncertain what to do, I stood at the bus stop on the main highway on the outskirts of Beer-Sheva, Israel and hoped a vehicle, any vehicle, would stop and give me a ride.

When I heard traffic approach, I held up my thumb and begged God to hear my plea.


A Wild Tank Ride Across the Negev Desert!

Beersheba to Arad. Israel, Summer 1971

Missed last bus home.
It’s Sabbath!
No taxis or passing cars.
Scorching heat.
29 miles, 47 kilometers.

Tank barrels toward me, rattles to a stop.
“Arad?”
Driver motions. “Climb aboard!

Car stops, offers ride. “Tanks take forever.”
Confused, I wave them on.

An hour later, I hear a raucous scream overhead
“Bomber,” driver yells.
“God!” I gasp.
“Friend!” Driver waves skyward, pats tank. “Soviet from Six Day War.”

Minutes later, second bomber buzzes tank.
Driver again waves.
Friendly fire? Feel faint.

After three hours, we arrive.
Wilted vegetables, melted ice cream.
Shaken, I thank him.
Wild ride! Shabbat Shalom!

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