- I grew up in a home with strong Zionist traditions. My
uncle was an official of the Zionist Organization of America and made many
trips to Israel. When in New York, my aunt and uncle were frequent visitors
to our home, especially around holiday time where dinner celebrations always
ended with the singing of Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem. On those
occasions, they would dazzle us with their stories of experiences in the
- My mother was a lifelong member of Hadassah, the organization
that raises funds for Israeli hospitals and medical research, and I was
expected to carry on that tradition when my mother passed from the scene.
My family had returned to New York after my father's early retirement to
California because of a thyroid condition, in order for my brother and
me to have a Hebrew education. We both were enrolled in parochial schools
where we spent half the day in Jewish studies, and the other half in the
required English ones.
- During summers, I was packed off to camp where we spoke,
ate and even played baseball in Hebrew. We fought color wars that had us
setting up watch towers for new settlements in the dead of night without
being detected, and we went on night treks up hillsides to plant our flag
at the summit. We role-played pioneers establishing the homeland,
and we were expected to be brave, tough, and fluent in Hebrew. Our Israeli
counselors would ridicule us when we didn't measure up to their expectations.
- We were taught the songs and dances of the first Israeli
settlers from Eastern Europe and learned them well enough to demonstrate
them for Israeli youth, who had never heard or seen them, preferring the
latest international pop hits. I fully expected to make "aliyah"
to Israel when I finished college, just as my cousin Zippy had done. While
this was not the goal my parents held for me, everything I knew about Israel
drew me in, almost irresistibly. As I collected money for the Jewish National
Fund, a weekly school assignment, passing around the pale blue tin boxes
that were ubiquitous in Jewish neighborhoods, I imagined myself planting
trees bought with money I collected around new settlements in the Negev,
the southern wilderness.
- My older brother was a terrorist. At fifteen, he joined
the ranks of the smallest and most radical of the three underground groups
committed to chasing the British out of Palestine and creating the Jewish
State. Known as the Stern Gang, or more formally, Fighters for the Freedom
of Israel (FFI), they were specialists in assassinations and surprise attacks
on Arab and British foes. They competed for money and attention with the
Irgun, the oldest of the three resistance groups, and Haganah, the largest
and the least radical of the three.
- It was rumored that the Stern Gang was responsible for
the assassination of General Allenby on the streets of London. He had been
in charge of British forces in Palestine, and was hated for torturing captured
Jewish prisoners. The group also was implicated in car bombings, terrorist
attacks on British barracks and revenge killings of Arab leaders. My brother's
job was to raise funds from the Jewish communities of the Eastern seaboard
and collect armaments that were later trans-shipped to Israel.
- We knew about this because my father found boxes of guns
and explosives in the basement of a small apartment building he owned in
Brooklyn. Confronting my brother, he ordered him to remove these illegal
and dangerous contents from the building within 48 hours or he would call
in the police. Two days later, two toughs appeared at the door of our apartment,
asking for my father. They threatened his life if he didn't forget he knew
about the guns and explosives, allowing them to be removed when "the
boys" were ready. My father was terrified and followed orders.
- My brother sometimes confided in me about his work. I
idolized him as a hero of the Jewish people, although the real impact of
his bloody work was obscured by the haze of my romantic notions about Israel.
One day, my brother called me into his room and told me he needed my help.
He said he was running a fever and might be too sick to bike a package
of nitroglycerin over the George Washington Bridge the next morning. If
he couldn't do it, he told me, I might have to take his place. I told him
I was prepared, reminding him that I was trained as a scout at Camp Cejwin.
My eyes filled with tears of pride. In the end though, my brother decided
that he couldn't let his kid sister take that risk and although sick, he
managed to carry out the task himself.
- At seventeen, just shy of his high school graduation,
my brother left school and worked his way to Brazil on a freighter, washing
pots big enough for him to stand in. He jumped ship in Rio and was taken
in by members of the Jewish community there. The next thing we knew the
military government of Brazil had thrown him in jail and was considering
either throwing away the key or kicking him out of the country. My parents,
through the efforts of New York's Congressional delegation and a satchel
of money, arranged for him to be flown to Miami by a Brazilian general.
There, he was met by my parents and various U.S. officials who were prepared
to arrest him. Fortunately, that didn't happen for reasons never clear
- I didn't see much of my brother after that. He was drafted
and sent to fight in the Korean War where he was made an explosives expert
and spent much of his time dismantling bombs that failed to explode. When
he finished his army stint, he enrolled in college under the GI Bill, and
then in graduate school where he earned a doctorate in clinical psychology.
- I was planning my college career while my brother was
getting ready for graduate school. I wanted to go to a small liberal arts
college strong in literature and writing, my areas of interest, but my
parents offered me a different deal. If I would agree to go to the City
University of New York, which offered a free college education, I could
have a year abroad, all expenses paid, in the country of my choosing. In
the end, I accepted the deal and chose to go to Israel. I couldn't pass
up the chance to visit the Jewish homeland.
- It was the refuge where Jews could feel safe, protected
by our own Jewish army. For hundreds of years, Jews had been thrown out
of countries or proscribed in what careers they could pursue. In Europe,
they had been targets of pograms, disenfranchisement, and bigotry for hundreds
of years. The Holocaust showed us that we were not safe anywhere, even
in the countries where once we had prospered and were socially successful.
- My maternal grandfather had been a prominent toymaker
with a large factory near Berlin. He had been given the title of Baron
by the Kaiser for services to the State. But when he fled the Nazis
and came through Ellis Island, grandfather Louis left everything behind,
his title, his business, his home and lands, and became a simple, poor
tailor in Richmond, Virginia.
- It was the Holocaust that woke up American Jews to the
cold reality of a world prejudiced against them. We felt morally committed
to Israel as a safe haven where Jews could live in peace, no matter how
our social and political conditions changed or turned against us.
- Given a time-honored commitment to civil rights and human
dignity, it now seems odd to me that in the many discourses and orientations
I received about Zionism, it was never mentioned that the homeland had
been seized from its Arab owners who were driven off their lands to make
way for the State of Israel.
- Arabs became known as the enemy of the people of Israel.
They stood in the way of Israel's return to their birthright and historic
home. Those who did not flee their homes and remained in Israel were told
that they could live in peace with their Israeli neighbors, with the rights
and privileges accorded to Israeli Jews, including the right to run for
Parliament, attend the University, and receive social, medical and economic
- At college, I started to read more about the terrible
conditions of Palestinian refugees who fled Israel and were herded into
temporary camps in neighboring Arab lands. But when I asked my aunt and
uncle, the ZOA "dignitaries" about that, I was cautioned that
even asking such questions could tag me as anti-Semitic, someone who hates
the Jews. It was implied that questioning the actions of the Jewish State
could be dangerous. I was warned to be careful.
- Though disturbing, this advice about being careful was
lost on me in the whirlwind of activities getting ready for my trip to
Israel. I was going to attend the Hebrew University during my junior year
at college and study Biblical archeology with my childhood hero, General
Yigal Yadin, the father of Israeli archeology, famous for his work throughout
- Studies in the Promised Land
- The 10-day ocean voyage on an Israeli steamship would
be the bright line between my old, soft life in America and a new life
as a potential Israeli immigrant and settler. My cousin Zippy, a heroine
who had lived through the siege of Jerusalem during the Israeli War of
Independence and wrote an award-winning book about it, was going to pick
me up at the port in Haifa and drive me to her home near Tel Aviv, where
I would stay until the start of classes at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
- The ship was small by ocean liner standards and most
of the passengers were older couples and business people. At 18, I was
the youngest passenger on board, and an object of intense curiosity or
so it seemed. Walking around the deck for exercise, I usually picked up
companions-older men who followed me, questioned me, tried to make small
talk, with unsmiling, business-like demeanors. I found them unnerving.
The men were humorless and unattractive, but they stuck to me like flypaper,
making my daily walks on the ship deck unpleasant.
- One afternoon, as I attempted to elude an uninvited follower,
a door opened and a hand beckoned me in. I hesitated, not wanting to jump
from the frying pan into the fire. But a distinguished looking older gentleman
in a white uniform, with a warm smile and a European accent said, "Don't
worry, I don't mean you any harm." I searched his face and found no
malice in it so I entered the room. He was the ship's chief engineer, a
courtly gentleman from Italy. He told me that he saw how uncomfortable
I was and thought he could offer me a port in the storm. We sat on opposite
couches and talked about our lives and interests. He offered me a yogurt,
and ate one with me. My visits with Aldo became an enjoyable habit. At
about the same time each day, I stopped by for an hour of yogurt and small
talk with Aldo. It was all quite innocent, but it may not have seemed so
to the crew and passengers who, from that point on, stared at me and whispered
when I walked by.
- One morning, when I returned to my stateroom after breakfast,
I heard a knock on the door. I asked who it was, and a man's voice answered,
the ship's purser. I opened the door to find a tall, muscular man in an
officer's white uniform. He pushed me into the room and down on the bed,
shut the door, and proceeded to lower his pants and get on top of me. This
fool was going to rape me! It struck me as completely incongruous and hilariously
funny that it should be an Israeli officer who should be attacking me!
I started laughing hysterically. He told me to shut up which made me laugh
even harder. That did it. Suddenly, he sprang up, unable to continue. My
laughter had disabled him. He let himself out, slamming the door behind
him, which I bolted. He never tried it again, thankfully, but I kept as
low a profile as possible for the remainder of the trip.
- I recognized my cousin portside. She was tall by Israeli
standards. We hugged, she put my belongings in her car, and we drove off.
As I stared out at the hills of the Carmel range through the car window,
tears poured down my cheeks. I didn't know why I was crying but the tears
never stopped the entire time we were driving, and I never figured out
- Savyon, the suburb in which my cousin lived with her
family, was a community of terracotta homes in a park-like setting. The
air was redolent with citrus and honeysuckle, and kids were playing soccer
in a neighbor's yard. It was a bucolic scene that might have been in central
Florida or Flagstaff, Arizona.
- At the time, one of the most affluent communities in
Israel, Savyon was established in 1954. My cousin's husband, a retired
army colonel, civil engineer, and a member of the diplomatic corps, had
helped to plan the community. I had expected something more rough and ready,
more like the pictures of kibbutzim I had seen in magazines. But it was
a pleasant place to learn about Israeli morés, brush up on my Hebrew,
and prepare for my studies at the university.
- The Hebrew University, built into the hills of Jerusalem,
was part of the dream of early Zionists, and it was established with the
State of Israel. During the war of independence, the original campus on
Mount Scopus was cut off from Jewish Jerusalem, and subsequently, a new
campus was built in southwestern Jerusalem at Ein Kerem. This was the campus
I would attend. From there, you could see Arab villages and olive orchards
that had been deserted by their owners after the war, and now were occupied
by Israeli artists and craftspeople. The two campuses of the university
were reunited in 1967, after the Six-Day War, with the original Mount Scopus
campus once again made the main one.
- My first day in Yadin's class in archeology was unforgettable.
Classrooms were designed in the European style, with a separate entrance
for teachers at the head of the classroom and another for students at the
back. All of us students were seated waiting for the entrance of the great
Yadin. The door at the front of the room shook slightly, then stopped moving.
A moment later, a tall, bald man in tweeds raised a window and climbed
into the room. Without pausing a beat, he walked to the podium, opened
a file of notes and began his lecture. The first thing he told us, in a
deeply resonant voice, was that if we took his class because we admired
old, beautiful objects, we should leave now. There is no room in archeology,
he said, for antique hunters. The work is hard, tedious and unexceptional.
Most of the objects we would deal with would be unremarkable, and we would
consider ourselves lucky to find anything at all much less anything of
value. It felt as if he was talking directly to me.
- I also had enrolled in a seminar on Egyptian hieroglyphics,
but the world-famous scholar listed as the teacher was spending a year
on sabbatical in England and his research assistant, a large, tall woman
who looked like a sturdy kibbutznik, would be teaching the seminar. I was
the only one who had enrolled, and the contempt with which the woman treated
me made me feel this was not going to work out well. I bailed, and signed
up for a class in poetry, instead.
- I was friendly with Israeli and Palestinian students
as well as others from Nigeria, South Africa, Britain, Belgium, Holland,
France, Brazil, Chile, and elsewhere, all with their own unique story of
why they had come to study in Israel, some for adventure, others because
it held a special significance in their lives. We formed an informal gourmet
society, sharing the pennies we had to spend on food and our culinary skills.
- A sizeable number of Palestinians were enrolled in the
university, and everyone got along well each other. Later, it would be
claimed that it was at tables in the cafeteria of the university that plans
for the first Palestinian Intifada was plotted. The only plots I was aware
of at the time were the secret ingredients in the fragrant feasts prepared
for our monthly, low-budget dinner parties. It was from these culinary
adventures that I learned to cook and love vegetables.
- A fellow student from the New York area, a writer like
myself interested in archeology, and I decided to travel south during our
two-week, mid-winter school break. We planned to take a bus from Tel Aviv
to Beersheba, and then hitch a ride to Eilat, the southernmost tip of Israel
on the Red Sea.
- I wanted to visit Petra, the red city built by the Nabateans,
an Arabic people who withstood the invasions of Rome, the Crusaders, and
the Byzantines. Built in 600 BC as an impregnable fortress with colonnaded
tombs and temples carved into towering sandstone cliffs, Petra was the
Donnybrook of all invaders who sought to conquer Palestine. Ultimately,
invading armies would abandon the site as too remote and difficult a place
to conquer and hold. Petra is two hours north of the Gulf ofAquaba, on
the Jordanian side. Although Israelis often snuck across the border to
explore the place they called, The Red Rock, and lived to tell about it,
it was dangerous to go there without Jordanian permission.
- At the boisterous bus station in Tel Aviv, we found the
one to Beersheba and got on, sitting among workers with lunch pails, Arab
women holding chickens or babies, and old men with milky eyes who crunched
sunflower seeds incessantly and threw the empty shells on the floor. The
shells scrunched underfoot as people got on the bus and made their way
to an open seat. The old vehicle huffed and puffed and shuddered as it
snaked through the southern wilderness to the bus depot inBeersheba, four
- It was dusk when we disembarked in a desolate area without
a sign or kiosk to guide us to the local youth hostel, our destination
that evening. A friendly truck driver off-loading produce to a smaller
vehicle suggested that we look for someone at the central market, a kilometer
or so from where we were. He asked us how long we were going to be in Beersheba
and we replied, just overnight, then on to Eilat. He told us his next stop
was Eilat and he could give us a lift. He suggested that we look for him
in the bus depot around noon the next day. We agreed to meet him.
- Walking toward the central market in the direction the
truck driver indicated brought us to a Bedouin encampment, where my companion,
Leah and I lost sight of each other. I kept walking and looking for her,
losing sight of where I was heading which was right in the middle of a
field of camels, some sitting on the ground and others in various stages
of rising awkwardly like a creaky boat on a sea of sand, their spindly,
long, shaggy, dirt-caked legs awkwardly bending space to their will. They
towered over me and I panicked but kept walking through the crowd of shaggy,
smelly beasts. I found a Bedouin women, sitting in the opening of a tent,
dressed all in black with chains of gold coins stretched across her face,
ear to ear, from her chin up to her eyes. She was feeding a baby at her
breast. I signaled to her that I was looking for water. She called into
the tent and a child brought out a leather pouch and showed me how to drink
from it. Reluctantly, I did, realizing that I felt a whole lot better after
I drank the water. I thanked her and started walking, this time, away from
- Leah, my travel-mate, was wandering around the market
buying fruit and cheese for our journey. She had a vague idea of how to
find the Youth Hostel that was in a residential part of town on the other
side of the market. We started walking away from the market toward our
- As the sun set, I had the creepy feeling that we were
being followed. I looked back and saw a car a few lengths behind us, and
a small knot of men, alongside the car. When they saw us looking back at
them, one of them whistled at us, and more men seemed to be joining them.
Now, there was a crowd of men and several cars inching along behind us.
I pinched my companion's arm and said, 'Notice anything? We're the only
women on the street. I don't like the feel of this. I think we're in trouble."
We spotted an open café, the only public place in sight, and walked
in, selecting a table in the middle of the room with a clear view through
the large pane glass window in front of the shop so we could observe the
crowd outside. Several men came in and sat at tables around the periphery
of the room, making a giant circle around us. When we were entirely surrounded,
the men started table-hopping and whispering to each other, and we were
trapped like roaches in an ant hotel.
- Leah suddenly grabbed my arm, and said, sotto vocé,
"Don't look now, but there's a character in a beret and trench coat
parading up and down in front of the café." She looked terrified.
Suddenly, the man in the trench coat and black beret entered and made a
beeline for our table. Very precisely, in clipped Hebrew, he whispered
in my ear loud enough for Leah to hear, "The car is waiting. In exactly
one minute you will get up and march with me out the door and get into
the car." My jaw dropped and I looked at him as if he were crazy.
Leah was irate. She started to say, "I will not follow you out to
a car" then stopped. "Listen," I said to her, I think he's
trying to help us. I don't know what's going on but those other guys don't
look nice or friendly. He looks kind." He shook his head confirming
what I was saying. I started getting up. "I'm going to take a chance
on him and I suggest you do, too."
- We both followed him out of the café. On the street,
he grabbed each of us firmly by an arm and started walking briskly away
from the cars and mob behind us. "Where are you going," he asked?
We told him we were headed for the Youth Hostel but we had no idea where
it was. I asked him, "Who are those men, and why are they following
- He explained, "They're workers from the copper mines
in Dimona. When they come to town, after not seeing a woman for weeks,
they are desperate for companionship. And you are the only ones available,
- Leah blew, "What do you mean available? We're not
available to them, what are they going to do, kidnap us?"
- "Precisely," he replied. "They want to
kidnap you and use you for sex. I saw you were in trouble so I decided
to help you. I'm with the Israeli secret service. I happened to pass by
and saw what was happening."
- As we walked arm and arm, some of the men from Dimona
called out to him, and one came up to him with his wallet out, trying to
buy us from him. Fortunately, he didn't agree to trade us to the highest
bidder just yet. Now, we were really scared. Why weren't we warned how
dangerous this trip was going to be? It never occurred to us that we had
to protect ourselves, not just from Arab terrorists but from Israeli ones,
- When we reached the Youth Hostel, there were no lights
on, and men were hiding behind trees who called out to us as we passed.
Manny, our protector, marched into the office and found the manager asleep
in the next room. He quickly told him what was going on and urged that
he protect us if the men came asking for us. The manager pooh-poohed the
whole situation, saying we were just wimpy American girls blowing things
out of proportion to the facts! He no sooner finished his rant then four
men with guns walked into the office, demanding that we be turned over
- Now, the manager bolted into action, grabbing an automatic
weapon from behind a cabinet and screamed at them to back off and clear
out! He wasn't going to let these excuses for men tell him what to do.
He told them he wouldn't hesitate to blow their heads off and they knew
and we knew he meant it. He escorted us to our rooms and suggested we take
turns sleeping to make sure we weren't bothered by anyone, and he would
stand guard, too.
- There was at least one more attempt to kidnap us that
night, but our two heroes kept the kidnappers at bay with their guns drawn.
Why were men from copper mines so crazed that all they could think of was
acquiring sex slaves? It took me forty years to learn the answer.
- The copper mines in Dimona were in reality Israel's secret
nuclear facility, which in 1960 was just being built with the help of the
French government. The workers at the facility might have suffered some
low-level radiation exposure, which has been associated with uncontrollable
sexual urges. But this gang-like attempt to snatch us off the streets and
use us for sex was outside the pale of civilized behavior! Obviously, we
weren't the first ones to be accosted this way!
- In the morning, we headed back to the bus depot, having
deciding it wasn't safe for us to spend any more time in Beersheba.
The mob knew where we were and probably wouldn't stop trying to snatch
us. They would get better at it with each failed attempt and ultimately,
with so many joined in the project, they would succeed.
- We spotted our friend, Yossi, the truck driver loading
his truck. Before we approached him, we stopped to argue whether traveling
with him was a good idea or would it mean buying into more trouble. Considering
that he wasn't from Dimona orBeersheba, that he had a schedule to keep,
and there would be two of us riding with him, we decided he would be a
safer choice than the Beersheba gang we met the night before. We hailed
Yossi and he waved us over.
- I straddled the gearbox next to Yossi and Leah sat next
to me. The bumpy ride was blessedly uneventful until, halfway to Eilat,
Yossi fished out a rifle from behind the bench seat and proceeded to shoot
out his window with one hand, while driving with the other. I asked him
what he was doing, and he answered, laughing, that he was practicing his
marksmanship because it always pays to be prepared. Did he think we would
run in to any trouble, Leah asked him? "I never think about trouble,"
he replied. "It's no trouble if you're ready." I couldn't decide
if Yossi was a good guy or one of the tribe of bad guys who had terrified
us the night before.
- By the time we reached Eilat it was pitch-dark, a moonless
night without street lights. We asked Yossi how we could find the Youth
Hostel, and he suggested walking to the bus terminal for information and
pointed us in that direction. We walked gingerly in the dark through sand
we couldn't see underfoot. I wondered if there were scorpions around but
quickly released the thought. There wasn't anything we could do but find
a safe place to stay for the night. Ten minutes later, we were in front
of the bus station but it was closed and no one was around. Outside, behind
the station we found a kiosk with magazines and newspapers, lit by one
flickering incandescent bulb that hung down over the proprietor's head.
- Yevgeny, the proprietor, was a short, fat, bald man with
a black patch over one eye. His good eye was large, round, and bloodshot,
and he appeared sweaty and disheveled. He could have marched right out
of the pages of Dostoevsky novel. We asked him if he had a map that would
get us to the youth hostel. He told us that no one would be there this
late, but he knew a place where we could find a room for the night. It
was Shula the Seamstress' place. She rented out a room, sometimes, he told
us, and pulled out a phone from a lower shelf and started to dial. He talked
into the phone in Russian for a moment, then hung up. "She said a
room is available. She doesn't charge much. The room is simple and clean,
and it has two beds." He scribbled an address and a name on a piece
of paper and handed it to us. "How do we find her place, I asked?" Yevgeny
drew a map.
- "It's simple. Walk in this direction for about 20
minutes, and look for building 73. They all look alike so you have to look
for the building number on the door. Then go up to the third floor to apartment
#6. Do you have a flashlight?" We did.
- Building 73 was one of dozens of concrete, slab buildings,
each six stories high and jutting out of the sand in anonymous rows, silhouetted
against the dark sky like sentries. In order to find #73 we had to walk
past two long rows of the buildings and shine our flashlights on every
front door. Finally, we found the right building and walked up to the third
floor toapartment #6. Across the threshold was a large mangy dog, who muttered
a low throaty growl when he saw us. Tentatively, we reached over the beast,
who we promptly named Cerberus, and rang the doorbell.
- The woman who opened the door wore a colorful kimono
robe, her frizzy red hair in riotous disarray. "Are you from Yossi,"
she asked? We nodded. She chased the big dog off the doormat and beckoned
us in. "Come. I'll show you the room." The main room was spacious
but spartan, stacked with piles of shells of dresses on the floor near
a large sewing machine. She showed us to a small bedroom with a hanging
red bead curtain serving as a door. Inside the room were two neat cots,
a sink and two chairs. The room looked clean and more inviting than Shula's
space which was neither tidy nor particularly clean, from what we could
see. Shula quoted a price of 5 dollars a night for the room, and asked
us how many nights we planned to stay. I replied two nights. She asked
for payment up front, showed us the bathroom, and asked what time we wanted
to wake up. Leah said we would probably sleep in. Shula warned us that
we would hear her sewing machine in the morning and it might wake us. Don't
worry, I told her, we can sleep through anything, we're so tired.
- It was true. The minute we hit our pillows, we were out
for the night. At about seven in the morning, I woke up when Shula's phone
rang, and bolted upright in bed. Shula was talking to someone on the phone.
I heard her say in Hebrew, "Yes, the Americans came. They're here
now, and staying for two nights. Come tomorrow. You can surprise them when
they're sleeping. How much for them? Good. Yes, I agree." I prodded
Leah and mimed for her to listen but make no sound. She heard the woman
say that they could take us the next night, and looked as horrified as
I felt. We quickly rose, took our things, and set off, planning never to
return although we said nothing and smiled to our innkeeper, as we left.
- After a day of sightseeing and a ride in a glass bottom
boat over the coral reefs to see the spectacular tropical fish and sea
creatures in the Red Sea, the boatman drove us to the Youth Hostel which
was perched high on a steep hill over the Port of Aquaba and the Red Sea.
The view was spectacular. We paid for a night and asked for lodging near
the front door, so we would be alerted by sounds of approaching cars or
other noises in the night in order to protect ourselves. We took turns
sleeping and keeping watch.
- Around midnight, Leah shook me awake. A car was coming
up the hill and getting louder minute by minute. We heard muffled voices
of several men and footsteps up to the front door. I whispered to Leah
that this was getting pretty old, and I was good and tired of it. I fished
around in my backpack for the folding knife I used to cut open oranges,
and put on my army surplus camo jacket. "Let me talk to them, but
back me up, Leah. Do you see anything heavy you can use if we need to protect
ourselves? She had bought a glass paperweight in a craft place at
the port, which she could use if she needed to fight someone off.
- Feeling more angry than terrified, I held my flashlight
in one hand, and the open, large folding knife in the other. As the men
outside banged on our door, I opened it a crack. A swarthy, short, pot-bellied
man was standing in front of me. I shined the light in his eyes, startling
him, and held the knife blade in the beam of light. Then I told him in
my best Hebrew, "If you take another step over this threshold, I will
cut your throat from ear to ear." He must have believed me because
he shut the door abruptly, and a moment later, we heard the men scurrying
off in the car and the car noisily hurtling down the hill. Although we
continued to take turns guarding the front door, no one else bothered us
- To this day, I have no idea if our experiences in Beersheba
and Eilat were usual or unique. Israeli friends I told about them laughed
them off, as if they couldn't have happened and I was imagining things.
But that is certainly not the case.
- Zionism Redux
- Today, I no longer identify with Zionism that celebrates
arrogant, deadly abuse of power, the kind practiced by the State of Israel.
Reports of Israel's unprovoked attacks against the people of Gaza, Lebanon
and Syria are consistent with the belligerence I myself experienced on
a much smaller scale, forty years ago. I understand that Israel will do
anything to get what it needs, whether it is more secure borders, greater
military prowess, more political control over allies, or a larger land
- It is a picture that Naomi Klein, in her new book, The
Shock Doctrine; The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, calls, "the standing
disaster apartheid state-an economy that expands markedly in direct response
to escalating violence." Immune to political instability, Israel is
now a model for the globalist agenda and governments like our own are eager
to emulate it and enjoy booming prosperity as they escalate brutality against
enemies and wage wars against the hapless residents of territories they
- In the last two decades, Israel's parlay of guns and
caviar has made it's economy one of the fastest growing and most robust
in the world. Peace no longer matters to a government like Israel's, whose
economy floats on the market for anti-terrorism technologies. Israel's
high tech firms and global security companies dominate these markets as
more countries strive to turn themselves into impenetrable fortresses,
- It is a recipe for war of the type the Bush Administration
proposes, an endless, global war on "terror." It is a philosophy
that breeds slaves and masters, and herds the "surplus" poor
into slums behind walls of steel, stone and concertina wire, so they cannot
interfere with the "freedom" of the markets to exploit workers
and keep the populace under iron-fisted control.
- Twenty-first century Zionism has matured into neo-colonialism
and this new colonialism has no room for human rights or the survival and
dignity of ordinary people. It is as dangerous as it is despicable and
inhumane. But people all over the globe are waking up and becoming wise
to the power plays of the elites, and they are beginning to take back their
communities, rebuilding and healing them, and making them more resilient.
- The great struggle of the 21st century is not the race
to the top of a golden pinnacle by a privileged minority, but a social
and spiritual movement sweeping up all in its path. Examples are
the democracy movement led by Buddhist priests in Burma, compasinos
in Bolivia and Mexico, the micro finance movement in India, and the peace
movement in Palestine and Israel.
- Despite missiles, bombs, bullets and floods the people
are rising, and no power on earth will stop them for long. When the people
are united, they take back their power. It is just a matter of time. ##
- Dr. Luise Light is a nutritionist and a former director
of dietary guidance and nutrition education research in the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, and senior nutritionist at the National Cancer Institute.
She also worked on programs with the American Red Cross, the American Cancer
Society and the American Heart Association. She was responsible for the
original Food Pyramid Guide but says the information was distorted
by the cozy relationship between USDA and the food industry, a relationship
she describes in her 2005 book, "What to Eat; The 10 Things You Really
Need to Know to Eat Well and Be Healthy."
- You can reach Dr. Light on her website, www.luiselight.com,
by email, email@example.com, or by phone, (802) 460-1060.