Friday, May 30, 2014

Not That Far from Tel Aviv (excerpt)


A cold breeze welcomed them at the summit. A few dark clouds traveled overhead. Talia zipped up her sweatshirt.
       “Since the ‘70s we have been fulfilling the biblical promise of populating this land, from the sea in the west to the Jordan River in the east,” Gideon’s booming voice sounded. “For the past few decades we were able to reclaim much of our ancient land. With God’s will, we shall have it all before too long.” He stopped for air, before concluding, “As someone famous once said, we stand here on the land of liberated Israel.”
       “Haven’t these people lived here for a long time?” asked Talia, pointing to the Palestinian village at the hill’s foot. “Shouldn’t they have some of the land too?”
       “And how do you reckon our country was made possible?” replied Gideon. “It was always us versus them.”
       “But—“
       Gideon turned to the group. “Let’s keep walking,” he said. “I have much more to show you.”
       Talia stood there confused as everyone began descending the hill. Noam smiled at her. “Shall we join the herd?” he whispered.
       Stepping down the hillside the two trailed behind the others.
       “I wish I could meet these people,” Talia said, gesturing to the village below.
       “It’s illegal for us to go there.”
       “I know.”
       “And dangerous, of course.”
       “I tend to believe they won’t harm a seventeen-year-old girl.”
       “You’re naive.”
       She shrugged. “I‘ve heard that before.”
       “And they’ll probably force you to marry one of their ugly old men.”
       Annoyed, she replied, “I will push you down if you keep talking like this.”
       “I actually believe you,” he said with laughter, then asked in a more serious tone, “You’re leaving tomorrow morning?”
       “Yes.”
       “Will you visit here again?”
       “Not sure. I might have enough material for my paper, and I do have lots of exams coming up.”
  “I hope to see you again.”
       “You could come to Tel Aviv.”
       “My parents won’t be crazy about the idea.”
       “Well, I might visit during Passover vacation, I’ll see how things go.”
 Seeing his pleased expression, she added with a playful smirk, “But only ‘cause you’ve asked.”

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