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September 2011

  • September journey part 18: The drinking game

    Staying on the move in Israel and the Palestinian territories (and beyond) through a month of trial. And today: Spanish sojourn ends. Autumn begins. Take a bunch of secular Israelis on a trip to a land exploding with pork products, and you're going to witness some excitement. Here is Maoz showing off the chorizo rojo he bought in Jerez to Ben-Dror and Lea who are waiting outside the hotel. We are setting off back towards Madrid and the airport. Traveling through mysterious rocky landscape, and stopping at the city of Segovia to catch a glimpse of its Roman aqueduct. rising…

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  • September journey part 16: Hierosolyma est perdita

    Staying on the road in Israel and the Palestinian territories (and beyond) through a month of trial. And today: Mi casa, su casa I came to Spain to look for my country, and am beginning the trip by looking for my suitcase, lost at the airport. The lost luggage personnel frown at the mention of El Al. They are expressing simple criticism of the company's handling of luggage, but the deeply ingrained Israeli instinct retorts: antisemites! No, no, no. This is an opportunity to break out of these paradigms if there ever was one. Lea Netzer's Sepharadic-history initiative has a…

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  • September journey part 14: Who runs the show?

    Staying on the move in Israel and the Palestinian territories through a month of trial. And today: reflections on a troubling billboard. Friday is Ruthie's birthday. We're having a picnic with friends at Jaffa's "crest" park. The view of Tel-Aviv and the sea from here is spectacular, and the guilt factor limited. While it's true that the park was planted where Palestinian houses stood before 1948, it's also true that most of them were demolished earlier by British authorities in order to enhance their control of the old city during the Arab revolt. For several decades after the war, the…

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  • Where we were on 9/11

    September 11, 2001 was a day that changed the world and the lives of many. Where were we that day? Here's a few answers +972 staff gave: Aziz Abu Sarah I was in Jerusalem, hanging out with an American friend from NYC. We watched the news together with a sense of shock and disbelief. I remember  thinking: if this is a terror attack, we will be screwed. Unfortunately, I was right. Mairav Zonsein I landed in New York that morning at 6AM from Tel Aviv on a visit to see my parents. I saw the twin towers for the last…

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  • September journey part 7: Enter violence

    Staying on the move in Israel and the Palestinian Territories through a month of trial. And today: from green pastures to realms of sincere wrath. I woke up this morning feeling somewhat refreshed. Several good souls donated to this project last night, helping save the journey from the unexpected political calamity that dried up its budget. The freezing of diplomatic relations with Turkey caused three week's worth of Turkey-related travel writing to go to waste. The various travel magazines canned the articles. The money on which I was counting for this project will never arrive. Thanks to my truly beloved…

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  • September journey part 6: Our reasons for living

    Staying on the move in Israel and the Palestinian Territories through a month of trial. And today: From grandma's house to the Tulkarem PLO headquarters. Like a proper Little Red Riding hood, I set off this morning to visit my grandmother. She lives in a retirement home in the city of Kfar Saba. About twenty kilometers north east of Tel-Aviv. Kfar Saba is situated immediately on the Israel side of the Green line. so I shouldn't be surprised that the lady sitting next to me on the bus over turns out to be a settler, but I am. She doesn't…

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  • September journey part 3: Invisible cities

    Staying on the move in Israel and the Palestinian Territories through a month of trial. Second excursion: to the old neighborhood and beyond, far beyond. I grew up on a settlement, not one inhabited by fierce ideologists, not even one that is recognized as a settlement by the Israeli people or their government, but a settlement nonetheless. "French Hill" was built after 1967 in East Jerusalem. It is a "citadel" settlement, overlooking the Palestinians from a high vantage point. Guess who was assigned to the watchman's position? Yours truly, at ten years of age. From the window of my childhood…

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  • September journey part 2: What are the chances?

    Staying on the move in Israel and the Palestinian Territories through a month of trial. First excursion: Beit Shean and Tel Al-Baida. First experience: Uncertainty. . . Tel Aviv has become such a carnival of protest this summer, that leaving it can be a bit of an emotional zig-zag. On the sherut, or minivan bus, to the city of Afula, I experience my first downwards zig, on learning that the rest of the country may not be quite as much of a rebellious paradise. . Twenty-two year-old Palestinian-Israeli Amjad sits next to me. By the time we reach his town…

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