Today was another busy day in Jerusalem pressing forward on my dissertation research. I spent a good portion of the day making phone calls and continuing to gather data from the aforementioned Peace Index. I also dropped in on the offices of the Israel Democracy Institute, located only about a kilometer away from my apartment.
Wrapping up the day in my usual seat at Coffee Shop on Azza, I made a phone call to a contact I recently made with Shas. As luck would have it, he had time available to meet me at Knesset today, but it really had to be right away. I dropped everything, ran home, grabbed my notebook, and headed over to Knesset. Given that time was short, I thought it would be a good idea to make my way directly up the wooded hillside next to Gan Sacher rather than take the winding path around. I knew this would take me up to the fence which surrounds Knesset, which I could then follow around to the main entrance.
Bad decision. I quickly discovered that the road which runs alongside the fence is closed to civilian traffic and the Knesset security does not take kindly to people wandering up and down it. Emerging from the woods, I was stopped by guards on patrol who, politely enough, asked me what I was doing there and took my passport. Unfortunately, as I had made this meeting spur of the moment, I was not yet listed as a guest. As such, my story that I was going to meet someone at Knesset could not be confirmed by anyone at the security office.
Fortunately, I got on the phone with my contact, and after a bit of explaining to him the pickle I was in, I handed the phone to the security guard, and they talked it out. End result, they let me go, I felt stupid, and I was late. Lesson learned: don’t take shortcuts, especially around sensitive government buildings. Stay tuned for my report on this evening’s meeting. With any luck, I’ll have it up sometime tomorrow.