At 17 Km per Hour, Bikers' Protest Gets Little Sympathy

I left home at 7:15 A.M., almost 45 minutes early. It takes me about an hour and 15 minutes to reach Tel Aviv from my home in the northern coastal plain on days when traffic is "brisk." On days when U.S. presidents land in Israel, or when there is a 15-car pileup and a chemical spill in Netanya, the trip might take two hours.

I set out for a long battle, as a great believer in the power of logic to create order even in an event like yesterday morning's motorcyclists' protest against rising insurance premiums.

Somewhere between Netanya and the Wingate Institute, a senior traffic officer went on the air to update Army Radio's listeners that the police had closed the entrance to the Ayalon Highway and were asking drivers from the north to get to the Ayalon through Herzliya's Sira Junction.

As a law-abiding citizen, I drove at a pace even an amputee hippopotamus would have been ashamed of after spending two hours of my life on this accursed road. But I comforted myself in the knowledge that the Ayalon now awaited.

Big mistake. A police car blocked the way. "These boys in blue are smart," I said to myself. "They probably put this patrol car here to confuse the bikers."

Another big mistake. "No entrance," said a deputy commander in a fluorescent reflector jacket, who waved me eastward into the depths of Herzliya. "Go through Kfar Hayarok and in 20 minutes you'll be on the Ayalon."

In short, after four hours at an average speed of 17 kilometers per hour I got to work about as interested in the bikers' protest as the Israel Defense Forces is in Human Rights Watch. I didn't even know what those helmeted barbarians wanted.