My Story 4: A Trip to Europe

In June 1976, after spending three months in Israel, I met my friend in Europe as planned. I was politically ignorant but apparently Israel was a hot topic in the news. As the El Al flight landed in the Amsterdam airport, it was directed to a separate landing area. I was shocked to see the plane surrounded by tanks with Dutch soldiers pointing their guns at us as we deplaned. Apparently plane hijacking had become the mode of terror at that time. I'm not sure if the soldiers there to protect us or protect Amsterdam. Nevertheless, we deplaned far away from the terminal and were bussed to the entrance.

I was in France when I heard about the successful rescue of the Israelis and Jews being held hostage in Entebbe. I was still clueless but I was slowly beginning to understand that being Jewish came with its own unique trials and tribulations. I was also beginning to understand that the only place I felt really welcomed and safe, as a person and as a Jew, was in that place called Israel.

In any case, hitchhiking around Europe was thrilling. My friend and I had a great tent and all that we needed. We started in Amsterdam at the FESTIVAL OF FOOLS and spent the rest of the summer following theater and street festivals as they happened. It was the best time of my life. I was free - the most free I've ever been.

Now it was August and time to go home. I had 6-months left on my open-ended ticket and a decision to make. Instead of a future as a cabbie in America, a future that suddenly seemed empty and void of warmth and friendliness, I said good-bye to my good friend and returned “home” to Israel.