How appropriate that on this holiday of Chanukah - the Holiday of Lights - the State of Israel, the Israeli Departments of Transportation and Roads, and the Councils of Gush Etzion and Efrat have gifted residents of Efrat and Gush Etzion, as well as all those who drive along Route 60, with THE GIFT OF LIGHTS. Traffic lights.
This morning, as I drove out of the northern entrance of Efrat on the Shayarot (Convoy) Road, I was greeted by brand new traffic lights.
Suddenly instead of the usual mass of cars, bunched up upon one another like guinea pigs seeking warmth, cars were lined up civilly, waiting their turn to drive on to Route 60.
No more inching forward, hoping to make a turn before a speeding vehicle bears down on you. Now on-coming traffic has a red light, while cars from inside Efrat turn carefully on to the road.
This junction on Route 60 has been particularly dangerous, as vehicles speed by from the Beitar-El Khader light going south and the Southern Efrat light going north. Drivers from the Shayarot Road have literally taken their lives in their hands to get on to the highway. Several tragically have lost their lives in the attempt.
Acknowledging the treacherous traffic turn off, Israel's Transportation Minister Israel Katz (no relation to the author) announced last year that he would install a traffic light at the frightening intersection. And he did it.
This gift of lights truly is a gift that keeps giving - because it is giving the local drivers the gift of life and safer driving, IY"H, for many years to come.