When Sara Tushinski arrived at the army checkpoint at the western Samaria checkpoint of Oranit on Sunday, she expected to pass through without incident as she always does. But this time, it was not to be.
The 23-year-old woman’s surprise over being held for questioning by the soldiers at site was soon trumped by the shock of learning that the entire incident was a ruse arranged by her boyfriend as a means of asking for her hand in marriage, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Monday.
After Tushinski and Nir Shamir were separated by the soldiers for questioning, her ever-increasing panic hit a boiling point when an angry investigator informed her that Nir’s vehicle hit a person and “we know that you were with him” at the time. The officer showed her a picture of the car parked in a nearby Palestinian village. Her questioner then presented her Sara with her own identity card, thus “proving” that she had been in the car with Nir at the time in question.
While Sara was sweating under the interrogator’s accusations, Nir too was sweating, but for a much better reason.
Rather than going through a similar ordeal in another room, the 26-year-old from the settlement of Har Bracha was busy setting up a marriage proposal never to be forgotten.
Well in advance, Nir had turned to the office in the Defense Ministry responsible for the checkpoints along the Green Line separating the West Bank and Israel proper. With the ministry’s approval, he recruited the soldiers at the Oranit roadblock to participate in the charade.
He even drove a few days earlier to the Palestinian village where he was photographed, and managed to swipe Sara’s identity card so that the “interrogator” would have it for the questioning.
With the help of some of the soldiers at the checkpoint, Nir laid out a long colorful rug with lit candles along the sides in the roadblock’s parking area. On the hill nearby, members of the Israeli Scouts youth movement from Rehovot pitched in by setting up a large fire sign that read (in Hebrew) “Marry me.”
Once everything outside was ready for Sara, inside she was nearly apoplectic as she heard the dreaded words “You’re under arrest,” and she was instructed to go out to the patrol car.
When the terrified woman went outside, she stopped dead in her tracks. Facing her was Nir, with the lit fire sign illuminating the sky behind him.
Once Sara’s heart stopped pounding at dangerous levels, and she managed to get her breathing back to normal, she managed to find it in herself to smile — and to accept Nir’s unique yet heartfelt request that they build a life together.
Nir, a yeshiva student who is wheelchair-bound due an automobile accident some years ago, told Yedioth that he purposely chose this location and this method of proposing in order to make a point. “I wanted to show Sara,” he said, “that everything is possible, and there are no roadblocks to love.”
On a lighter note, he added that “I also wanted to do something where she would never suspect a thing, because she knew that I was planning to propose.”
In that respect, Nir succeeded. Sara told Yedioth that she had “no idea” what was really going on. “One more minute and they would have had to hospitalize me,” she said.