Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

the round trip

  • Bringing the Green Line to Sir Paul McCartney

    The sea is vast, which is probably why I seldom meet people I know when I go in to take a swim. Another reason is that the sea wets people's hair and I don't recognize them quite as easily. A few days ago two wet-haired people called my name. It happened among the Hawaiian-sized waves of Alma Beach, north of Jaffa's promenade. They turned out to be my two friends Orna and Loren. We chatted about what's new and I told them I have a new baby: "The Round Trip," my new book, and the first ebook to be published by…

    Read More... | 4 Comments
  • Announcing: +972 travel series 'The Round Trip' now available as e-book

    The Round Trip, the much-loved travel series by Yuval Ben-Ami, has been published as +972’s first e-book. While +972 blogger and travel writer Yuval Ben-Ami traveled for three weeks around Israel’s borders, I mostly stayed put. But editing the series that was borne of that journey was an exhilarating experience. The 22 posts that made up “The Round Trip” were written one a day, in real time, on the road. At any given hour of every single day, we – Mairav, my co-editor at the time, and I – could expect the next installment of Yuval’s adventure, as he zig-zagged…

    Read More...
  • Podcast: +972 bloggers explore Israeli walls and borders

    +972 bloggers and journalists discuss where Israel starts and stops. In his journey The Round Trip, Yuval Ben-Ami set out to explore the State of Israel’s first border – the 1949 armistice lines, also known as the 1967 borders. Haggai Matar, on the other hand, is presently investigating a newer frontier, the one created by Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank.   Listen to them discuss the geographical, political and moral implications of a land with shifting limits, in +972's third podcast.     +972 Podcast - Haggai and Yuval discuss Israel's borders by 972mag View both projects in full: The…

    Read More... | 5 Comments
  • The Round Trip part 22: Night

    From Ashdod to Tel-Aviv via Yavne, Rehovot and Jaffa, the final leg.  The sun is setting over Ashdod, where Ruthie and I came to relax following the hospital experience. There is nothing wrong with Ashkelon, but Ashdod, a fifteen minute drive up the super-urbanized coast, somehow turned into our romantic getaway over the past few months. We even came here for our Valentine's Day date. If you wonder about this strange attraction to a modern mammoth of a port city, ask our taste buds. Ashdod is Israel's answer to Palestinian Nablus: a culinary paradise of a town, and while Nablus…

    Read More... | 11 Comments
  • The Round Trip part 21: Strip tease

    From Nir Oz to Askelon via Agadir, the land of broken pots and the city of dirty bunkers Ewan and I build a fire outside Kmehin, both to warm ourselves and to impress a very special newcomer. Ruthie is here. She took the train to Beer Sheva, then caught a bus to the border and made it on time to enjoy the fireworks. After both fireworks and fire die down, the big sphere of flames rises again over the desert and allows us to take a good look at our whereabouts. We are in one rare corner of the Negev…

    Read More... | 10 Comments
  • The Round Trip part 20: Western Sahara

    From Eilat to Kmehin via Eritrea, the days of yore, and the middle of nowhere Tonight at sundown, the Day of Remembrance for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism will begin. I picked a fitting city in which to pass this evening. Eilat is the one Israeli town that never knew war. In 1948, Palmach units arrived at this stretch of coastline and found it vacant. The forces of the Arab legion withdrew of their own accord, and the minute hamlet of Umm Rashrash was abandoned. The combatants produced a flag using a bed sheet and a small ink jar…

    Read More... | 18 Comments
  • The Round Trip part 19: Mr. Kalaboush

    From Taba to Taba via trouble. The government issued a severe travel warning, urging Israelis to stay out of the Sinai Peninsula. I've bumped into those occasionally in newspapers and on the radio over the past few days, yet am still planning to venture in briefly. It's not that I doubt the sincerety of the warning: while much Israeli fear-mongering is unfounded propaganda, Sinai terror alerts are sometimes followed by a fair bit of blood. I simply owe my readers and myself a true taste of the Egyptian border. This will be a difficult border to follow. The road running…

    Read More... | 15 Comments
  • The Round Trip part 18: Details, details

    From Aqaba to Eilat via an intolerant electric appliances store, a metaphoric volleyball court, and a strange play of reflections. The first thing I notice in Jordan is a picture. It is hanging over my hotel bed: a representation of Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem in its "before" state (for its "after" state, see the end of part 13). The second thing I notice are tall curbs. Jordan has insane curbs and consequently so do many West Bank cities, which were once subject to Jordanian civil engineers. I figure that such curbs impede parking on sidewalks, but they must also force…

    Read More... | 4 Comments
  • The Round Trip part 17: Impenetrable

    From Neot Hakikar to the Arava border crossing, via a land bereft of food, a plant for neutering flies and the home of a two-headed snake. Zoe, Mairav and I are looking for something to eat. We head down to Neot Hakikar, a small moshav on the southernmost tip of the Dead Sea. Google claims that it is home to a restaurant named "Fata Morgana" (a mirage). "I hope it doesn't vanish when we reach it," Mairav says. The restaurant is real enough, but only feeds large groups and only with advanced reservation. The other culinary establishment in town, a…

    Read More... | 3 Comments
  • The Round Trip part 16: Fresh water

    From Ein Gedi to Sodom via three Hebrew songs, two versions of paradise and one magnesium plant. Tine likes the Dead Sea, conceptually, that is. She likes that it's called the Dead Sea and that no form of life survives in its waters except for tourists. We camp out at a place that turns out to be very much alive: a beach near Kibbutz Ein Gedi. The families that come to spend Friday night here provide a good idea of which groups in Israeli society can't afford hotels: small town Mizrachim (Jews of Arab descent), Russian immigrants, Palestinian-Israelis and Bedouins,…

    Read More... | 6 Comments
  • The Round Trip part 15: Eternally confused

    From Lehavim to Masada via South Hebron Hills tent dwellers, God-fearing settlers and a Russian minimarket. Someone very special is waiting for me this morning outside the train station of Lehavim, north of Be'er Sheva. It is Tine Fetz, the German artist who got into the legal trouble with me on the September Journey, and then illustrated those events that we were not able to photograph. Tine is back in the country and ready to get in trouble again. She picked quite a day to join me: this is to be the final one along the Green Line, and having…

    Read More... | 7 Comments
  • The Round Trip part 14: Planet hopping

    From Jerusalem to the Lachish hills via a silent house of white robes, a Jewish Afghanistan and a Argentinian dance class. As the sun sets over Jerusalem, Holocaust Remembrance Day officially begins. It begins with a disaster: The wild wind of that sand storm toppled a stainless steel tower that held a light fixture above Mount Herzl. There, by the tomb of national Zionism's founder, a televised commemorative ceremony was to be held, but the collapse killed one 20-year-old female officer and left five others wounded, and it is now unclear what will be of the event. Having touched down…

    Read More... | 15 Comments
  • The Round Trip part 13: Walking the line

    From Ramot to Rachel's tomb via Brooklyn, a haunted house, a threat of very painful eternal damnation and two fjords. Ira, Ezra and myself are having breakfast in the sunny kitchen of Givon Hakhadasha. Ira eats what she terms a "kibbutz" breakfast: white cheese spread, some bread and a chopped salad of tomatoes and cucumber. She talks of the settlement's oddities, from an eccentric neighbor who claims unconvincingly to have served as a secret agent, to a peacock whom she once saw walking down the leafy streets, next to a little girl who tried to feed it ice cream. Another…

    Read More... | 13 Comments