image image
Fatmata

He invited me in a wave of friendliness, of loneliness, maybe to defend himself from beautiful Fatmata that devoured his days and nights. Joel, in his loneliness, that came for three months in Mali, that it was his first time in Africa, fell in love with Mali, Africa and Fatmata.
Crazy Honey
She wanted to circumnavigate the Black sea and I told her I shall meet her in East Turkey and bring her to Zaza after the big sun eclipse.
Zaza is a knight. His great great great grand father was also called Zaza Tsitsishvili. He was Knighted because in the end of a day's battle he cut the Seljuk lines, cut the head of the Sultan, held the hair of the severed head in his teeth so he can cut his way back through those who were not impressed by his deed.
Zaza is a wonderful reason. at least like the Black sea, The crazy honey or the Argonauts.

India Guide

India is the greatest adventure one can think of, Mysterious and unsolved although the hundreds of thousands travelers who visit the subcontinent every year and comes back, each one of them with a private smile that hides the inability to explain those who were not in India why is he or she smiling.

India Guide

The Wife Of the Lost Pilot



An Israeli pilot is shot down over Lebanon. A dual voiced story, of the Pilot and his wife, that knows nothing of his fate for many years is told. Is he alive? is he dead? What did happen?

How Trump betrayed the Kurds in Syria

Journalism - Opinion Columns



In the middle of December 2016, when the eastern part of Aleppo was bombed by the Russians, Iranians and its Shi’ite proxies, to the point that there was nothing left but dust, it became clear just how useless NATO, the United Nations and the United States are. It also became clear there is no such thing as the free world. The world is held captive by fear, abandoned and terrified. Thousands of women and children could be blown up and trampled on, and the rest of the world wouldn’t lift a finger. All of this happened a month after Donald Trump was elected as US president. There is no such thing as a coincidence.
   

Sinai - 6 days around St. Catherina

Trips - Trips

 

 

22-27.5.2012
A walking trip in the high mountain of Sinai. The camels carry the heavy equipment, nights in sleeping bags, food is prepared by the group. A walk of several kilometers every day, climbing to the high red picks of the Granites, hidden valleys with water pools, Byzantine desert Monks and Bedouins from the Jebalia Tribe

20-25.9.2018

A walking trip in the high mountain of Sinai. The camels carry the heavy equipment, nights in sleeping bags, food is prepared by the group. A walk of several kilometers every day, climbing to the high red picks of the Granites, hidden valleys with water pools, Byzantine desert Monks and Bedouins from the Jebalia Tribe

 

Sinai - the lost paradise

Journalism - World Report

Paradise Lost: How Sinai Became a Hub for Drugs, Money and Terror
The bombing of the Russian airliner reflects the long conflict between Islamic extremists and Egypt that has spread south to the coastal fantasy land.
Tsur Shezaf Nov 25, 2015 9:26 PM
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Tourist dwellings on Nuweiba on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula. Bloomberg
Analysis How Egypt lost Sinai long before the ISIS attacks
ISIS in Egypt: Al-Sissi locked in bloody battle with Islamic extremists
A personal exodus
Salman Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” opens with the explosion of an airliner named Bostan, a farsi word for garden. There are only two survivors: Satan and the angel Gabriel. It could be said the book’s start echoes the history of the Sinai Peninsula, a paradise of pristine sand dunes that became a land of savagery and terror.
Late last month a Russian airliner crashed in Sinai – the Islamic State says it blew it up and investigators agree. Back in 1974, the year I visited Sinai for the first time, it would have been all but impossible to imagine such a brutal attack.
I was 15 and went scuba diving with a friend at Naama Bay near Sharm el-Sheikh at the peninsula’s southern tip. All that was there were three diving clubs and an empty beach. The water was crystal clear, the coral reefs stunning and the fish colorful by day and tasty by night. Young people like us were walking around naked and smiling. Three roads crossed the peninsula, which had very few towns and villages. Only 60,000 people lived there.
Most of them were Bedouin of 26 tribes who lived in the region’s 60,000 square kilometers. Israelis – the then-rulers of Sinai – only understood them superficially. The Israelis were either fighting the Egyptians at the Suez Canal or building settlements, as well as hiking and diving in this paradise that had fallen into their hands. For Israelis, Sinai was green palm trees, red mountains, oases, gardens and natural pools that enticed you to stretch out naked on the smooth rocks and dry off.
Even the 1973 Yom Kippur War didn’t change a thing; the war took place near the Suez Canal far away. Israeli politicians only noticed the canal, the Gulf of Suez oil fields and the messianic settlement movement that consumed Israeli society following the triumph of the 1967 Six-Day War. Unpolitical Israelis only noticed carefree Bedouin, mountains and sea. I was one of them.
The mountains at Ras Shitan on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula. Alon Ron
When I finished my army service, I made my way down to Sinai and conducted tours, scuba dived, climbed the wadis and mountains, and befriended the Bedouin of both the south and north.
The peninsula became a playground without boundaries, one of free love and marijuana – although the latter was awful stuff smuggled in from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan by five drug rings. According to former operators of these networks, three were operated by Israeli intelligence and two by Egyptian intelligence, with both agencies seeking the information they could glean from the smugglers.
You could say that during Sinai’s glory years, the most amazing thing happened – the intelligence services of these two rivals worked for a common goal: to fill the young tourists’ demand for marijuana. It turns out that such things are possible in paradise.
The big money flows
The 1978 Camp David Accords seemed like a good idea, mainly because Israelis didn’t know what to do with Sinai. The Egyptians had big ideas. Sinai is the plank that connects North Africa with the Persian Gulf, the hinge on which the Arab world turns – a world where Egypt has always seen itself as the leader. The Egyptians paved new roads that linked Africa and Asia, and built a port in Nuweiba to transfer cargo and people to Jordan, Iraq and the Persian Gulf.
A map showing key locations in the Sinai Peninsula and the surrounding region.Haaretz
It was then that the big money began to flow into Sinai: investments in colossal hotels in the Sharm district, built for winter tourists from northern Europe. By that time, President Anwar Sadat had been assassinated and Hosni Mubarak was cultivating links with the private sector and issuing licenses for hotels in the peninsula.
The Bedouin, who were always suspicious about the Egyptians who lived on the Nile, guessed that this takeover wouldn’t benefit them. The peninsula became Egyptian tourism’s golden goose.
Israeli tourism, which extended to Nuweiba nearly halfway down the peninsula, was of a different stripe altogether. This was tourism of grass huts and plain beaches, most of them operated by Bedouin and Egyptian partners. For the Israelis, Sinai was a cheap and nearby foreign resort.
After the peninsula’s return to Egypt following the 1979 peace treaty, there may have been less nudity, but there was much more hashish, which became a locally grown crop. Now there’s opium, too.
The Byzantine garden agriculture, introduced by Macedonian monks in the fifth century when the Saint Catherine’s Monastery was established, has been converted for the intensive cultivation of opium poppies. The Bedouin began growing the poppies in the mountains as a way to make extra money. They thus morphed from nomads into sophisticated, wealthy farmers.
Tourist bungalows on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula.Alon Ron
So while the Egyptians make big money on the beaches and along the roads, the Bedouin in the mountains grow and smuggle drugs. At the high point of this period, the 1990s and the start of the previous decade, each dunam (quarter acre) produced around five kilograms of opium valued at $40,000. The opium was transferred by Egyptian middlemen to Cairo, where it was refined into heroin and smuggled to Europe.
Meanwhile, the drug business was synchronized with tourism; it even helped encourage it. Sinai became one of the largest regions in the Middle East for the cultivation, trade and smuggling of drugs, and the Bedouin, with the hundreds of millions of dollars they earned, began acquiring arms and importing alcohol and electronic goods. The tribal and familial networks were torn apart when the young people became wealthy and corrupt.
Arab Spring changes everything
Of the Sinai’s 26 Bedouin tribes, 13 are in the south and 13 in the north. The northern tribes live along the Israeli border – the Tarabin, the Sawarka and the Ahaywat. The southern tribes live down the coast.
The financial bonanza only reached the northern tribes when Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers began crossing Sinai on their way to Israel. With the large, unsupervised desert, the Egyptians’ blind eye and the porous Israeli border, Bedouin created networks for smuggling asylum seekers. This trade was controlled by the largest Bedouin tribe in northern Sinai, the Sawarka.
Egyptian Military cars approach tail of Russian plane crash in Sinai. November 2, 2015.AP
The price for smuggling a refugee soared to $40,000 from $3,000. The females were raped, and some were kidnapped to harvest their organs.
Asylum seekers were crowded into underground rooms, tortured and enslaved for the construction of villas for their kidnappers and rapists. Sometimes they begged their relatives in Israel, Eritrea and Sudan to pay ransom for their release near the Israeli border; from there they would try to make their way to freedom and perhaps a better future.
The system of kidnapping and rape was streamlined; the Sinai Bedouin made contact with another Bedouin tribe, the Rashaida, along the Egyptian-Sudanese border. The latter kidnapped asylum seekers who had fled to Egypt and did not intend to go to Israel. They were transferred to camps in the Nile Delta, and from there to Sinai.
By 2010, the tribes and the smuggling, kidnapping and extortion networks in Sinai had earned incredible sums – hundreds of millions of dollars. Until 2011, this world was decently organized. But the Arab Spring, which undermined Egypt and its security services, changed everything. Egyptian rule vanished. The Bedouin repeatedly blew up the natural gas pipeline through Sinai to gain protection money, and Israel, terrified by the wave of asylum seekers, put up a fence along the border.
In the summer of 2011 came the terror attack that no one was expecting: A cell penetrated the Israeli border from northern Sinai and attacked an Israeli bus near Eilat. The border road was closed, and Israel began to treat Sinai as a real threat.
Part of the wreckage of the Airbus 321 Russian airliner in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, November 1, 2015.AFP
The attack underscored the division of the peninsula: To the north of Eilat was a land of terror, kidnapping and rape. To the south was a land of beaches, tourism, palm trees and coral reefs.
Israelis lost their faith in the peninsula and stopped going there, but the tourism region of Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab survived the many changes – the revolution, the terrorist attacks and the election that made the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi president. This was followed by the army’s counterrevolution in which Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi came to power.
The Sinai coast continued to function as an isolated southern bubble, with hundreds of thousands of Russians and northern Europeans still flocking to its luxurious hotels and beaches.
ISIS-type attacks
With the civil war in Syria, the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and the weakening of Egyptian control in Sinai, a new organization came into being in 2012 in Sinai – Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. Some of its members were Bedouin from the Sawarka and some were foreigners. In November 2014, they declared allegiance to the Islamic State. The Egyptians managed to confine their war against the new group to northern Sinai.
Egyptian soldiers standing guard on Egyptian side of Rafah border, Sinai. Reuters
In 2013, Israel completed its fence to stem the flow of asylum seekers, and the trade in human beings was reduced to only a few dozen. But the Sawarka didn’t stop this lucrative trade, and instead began directing the asylum seekers toward Libya. The camps in the delta continued to operate and the big money was reallocated to the struggle against Egypt in the name of the Islamic State.
The Sawarka, due to their control of northern Sinai’s long coast and their proximity to Rafah and the blockaded Gaza Strip, became the main smuggler of weapons and ammunition to Hamas. The tribe developed the lucrative tunnel trade.
Thus the economic motive was added to the Islamic motive; trade in arms, drugs and people, as well as rape and looting, all clad in the cloak of jihad. Christian Copts fled El Arish, selling their homes at a loss and leaving in the middle of the night to avoid being kidnapped.
Northern Sinai became a war zone, the question was when, not if, it would seep into the tourism-friendly southern half.
The vulnerable south
In June 2014, I traveled to southern Sinai to meet with the Bedouin and gauge the extent of the Islamic State’s penetration. It was no longer possible to reach northern Sinai; certainly not as a tourist. Few journalists if any are permitted to go there. I came to meet Ahmed Gabali, the sheikh of the Gabalia, the oldest tribe in southern Sinai and the third largest, with around 7,800 resident members.
Gabali said that a few months earlier a few Bedouin from the north had made their way to southern Sinai.
“They came to carry out a terrorist attack at one of the hotels. We went to see them. They said they heard that if they struck tourists they’d be rewarded in heaven. We told them that whoever told them that was lying, that there’s no such thing as that in Islam. That striking tourists is like killing us,” Gabali said.
“They mustn’t do anything in southern Sinai. They returned to the north. A Bedouin from the north can’t come here and do something without us knowing about it. We won’t let anyone touch the tourists here.”
He said the heads of southern tribes had told the heads of the northern tribes they must not strike at tourists.
But the army is incapable of supervising the desert paths or the long coasts, where it’s easy to land a boat or raft. This is the territory of the Sawarka, and if they’re joined by the Tarabin and another tribe or two from the north, the tribes of the south and center won’t be able to rely on the army.
In April, the Islamic State in Sinai threatened the Tarabin, the largest of the Bedouin tribes in the peninsula, whose territory stretches from El Arish near the Israeli border to Nuweiba in the east. In early July, dozens of men from ISIS-affiliate Wilayat Sinai (the Egyptian army says over 200) attacked Egyptian army positions and camps near the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid. They killed at least 50 Egyptian soldiers, wounded dozens and destroyed tanks, armored personnel carriers and five military positions and checkpoints.
The fighters employed Islamic State methods. As the Egyptian camps were being attacked, Sheikh Zuweid was occupied by Wilayat Sinai.
Four months later the bomb sent down the airliner, signaling that the violence in the north had finally hit the south. It scared off the last Russian and European tourists, those who had come to enjoy the clear water and warm sun of this lost paradise.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-1.688306?date=1448516324668
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The bombing of the Russian airliner reflects the long conflict between Islamic extremists and Egypt that has spread south to the coastal fantasy land.

Analysis How Egypt lost Sinai long before the ISIS attacks
   

The Lost Pilot’s Wife

This is the story, told in two echoing voices, of an Israeli pilot whose plane was shot down in Lebanon and of his wife who was left alone.

Will the pilot be rescued by the all knowing commando unit? Will his wife ever find the answer to the question tormenting her for years? Or perhaps a person can find his liberty as a hiding refugee, just a few miles across the border from where he was born?

A fast-paced novel, weaving together a touching love story with breathtaking suspense.

 

 

Reviews

 

From Y-Net ( 5/18/2011)

by Yotam Schwimmer

http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4069219,00.html

 

Tsur Shezaf is, first and foremost, a traveler. A journeyer. His new novel, the seventh, uniquely blends a journey from Israel to Lebanon with an exploration of the two countries. Unlike his travel books, Shezaf charges the space in which the characters roam with lyricism, symbolism and mystical meanings.

The geographical expanse becomes fertile ground for illustrating the soul’s depths. Every plant, every plot of land, and every landscape are depicted with great esteem for their medical or purposeful significance for the characters, the emotions and memories they evoke, and their concrete and dramatic effect on the situation. The plot of The Lost Pilot’s Wife moves between these different layers, and Shezaf skips among them with ease and sensitivity.

The novel is told in a double voice: by Ruth, the wife of the lost pilot, who—we are told at the beginning of the book—has finally met her missing husband, whose plane went down in Lebanon and whose fate was unknown for decades. After their encounter, Ruth begins to write the story of her ordeal from the moment he disappeared. The second voice is that of Assaf, the pilot, who writes a letter intended for Ruth, in which he recounts his experiences since that fateful day when he parachuted down onto Lebanese soil. Through his story, we learn why he did not return to his wife or contact her for all these years.

The two voices are intertwined, turning our viewpoint back to the past. The reenactment of past events functions as a sort of effort to repair. The narrators tell their stories primarily in order to impose order upon their souls, and only secondarily in order to clarify their realities. Ruth often wonders what happened to Assaf, and her story is one of a private coping, of personal grief and a life stolen. Assaf, conversely, devotes almost no attention to Ruth in his story, although she is the recipient of the letter. He focuses to the extreme on “the death of Assaf and the birth of Yusuf,” the new identity he adopted—mostly unwillingly—in Lebanon.

 

This matter is critical, since the novel presents two completely different narratives. While Ruth’s story depicts Assaf as a present-absentee with great influence, Assaf’s stresses the absence of Ruth. Ruth’s own account occupies the national sphere no less than the personal. Her experience is not only that of a woman who has lost her beloved, but also of a citizen in face of the political machine.

[…]

The Lost Pilot’s Wife is not a travel book, yet the geography has great significance. There is an expectation that the arena of Tel-Aviv and northern Israel, though not always peaceful, would be safer than that of Lebanon. But this is not the case. Lebanon, with its mountains and flora, and its factious populations, emerges as a fertile expanse, and it is there, ironically, that Assaf finds salvation from death, and is able to resurrect himself (in a scene we will not spoil) and build a new life.

This conflicted and dangerous place is depicted as almost mystical, where things happen that could not occur anywhere else. Israel, on the other hand, with its problematic government, its political frauds, and complex imagery, is portrayed as a stifling space that does not lead to resurrection, to the foundation of new life, or to truth.

The discrepancies between the two places, much like the two narratives, emphasize the prosaic superiority of Assaf’s story as compared with Ruth’s. The geography is charged with emotional significance in both, but it is far more prominent in the context of Assaf’s location in Lebanon, where he adopts a new identity: a village doctor who specializes in botany.

The Tel-Aviv concrete and drab government offices are analogous to Ruth’s condition, but in terms of the prose itself, the Lebanese expanses allow the author to expand the borders of literary expression, with impassioned descriptions of flora and landscapes, which he connects impressively with Assaf’s psychological processes. While Ruth’s emotional reversals are depicted concisely, with local dryness and fairly simple language, Assaf’s experience, starting with his first fall onto Lebanese soil and all the way through his establishment as a respected doctor, moves along the axis between physical geography and the map of human emotions.

 

From Haaretz (6/1/2011)

by Amichai Shalev

http://www.haaretz.co.il/literature/1.1175841

The current Mediterranean state is brimming with big dramas on a regular basis. To write a literary work out of these big dramas is no small feat, and so authors frequently tend to grasp at some minor element, a specific angle through which they try to say something big and significant about wars, conflicts and so forth.

In The Lost Pilot’s Wife, Tsur Shezaf has chosen to tell a big, dramatic, familiar story, and he does so in a decidedly respectable way. The novel recounts the story of a pilot in the Israeli Air Force whose plane is shot down and who is taken captive, and in parallel, the story of his wife, Ruth, who remains alone with a baby and with one big question that no one can answer: is he alive? The story has many similarities to Ron Arad’s life, but it is not necessarily his story, because Arad himself is mentioned as part of the background reality.

The Lost Pilot’s Wife can be viewed, first of all, as the story of an area with an enchanting, unique landscape—war-torn Lebanon—which Shezaf describes so wonderfully: the bounteous mountains and hilltops, the unique medicinal plants, the bounty of opium and hashish, and the unrealized potential of the land. This enchanting region is ravaged by governments, organizations and soldiers, embroiled in their big and small conflicts, which leave it bleeding, injured, contaminated, yet still not completely destroyed.

There is something in Shezaf’s descriptions of the landscape, and in his phenomenal grasp of local geography and botany, which serves as an incredible, even magical ground for a major story, politically and militarily speaking. On this ground, Shezaf creates a nerve-wracking story. This is not a classic thriller, full of manipulations imposed upon the reader with varying degrees of success (fans of the genre are aware of them and accept them). Rather, the tension stems mainly from the uncertainty. Readers never have any idea what the next stage in this story is, and there is a constant sense that almost anything could happen. Shezaf navigates the plot with an impressively masterful hand, and takes it to places with the potential for melodrama, without allowing the melodramatic concoction to boil over. The final scene is an impressive literary episode of restraint and precision.

Shezaf positions his story within a bubbling stream of political lava, but what stands out is that he does not take a judgmental stance: there are no good guys and bad guys in this story, just as there probably aren’t in reality. Closed minds and Machiavellianism can be found on either side, and they are embodied in the figures of prime ministers and Mossad heads on the Israeli side, and in certain characters who appear along the Lebanese-Syrian travels of Assaf Vardi, the kidnapped pilot. In contrast, compassionate and wonderful people can also be found on either side, including the new Mossad head, a surprising character with decisive influence on the larger story, and Abu Shams, a Lebanese doctor who gives Vardi a new life that appears to be no worse than his first existence as a typical salt-of-the-earth pilot.

[…]

Assaf Vardi’s story, and mainly his decisions, make him a special and unconventional character. He starts off as a classic fighter pilot straight out of “Top Gun.” But as the pages advance and the plot proceeds, he evolves into something completely different—a character with impressive depths, who enters deep into our hearts.

Xargol Books

 

The Lost Pilot’s Wife / Tsur Shezaf

translated by Jessica Cohen

 

 

4. The First Thing

 

The first thing I remember was the silence. After the airplane roar, the missile strike, the flames, and my shouts over the internal radio to Ami, behind me in the navigator’s seat, that we’d been hit and had to eject, there was one second of total silence. In a Phantom, the navigator ejects first, to avoid being burned by the pilot’s ejection seat rockets. As soon as I hit the button, the canopy flew up and I was struck by a massively loud, deafening gale. After the strike, I had just had time to notify the airbase control tower that we were going down and give them our location. I aimed the Phantom toward the sea. We weren’t flying very high, and unlike the French aircrafts it replaced, the Phantom is a massive hunk of metal completely unable to glide. When its huge engines stop working, it simply falls. A technological marvel and an aviary ( Aerial) scarecrow.

The Phantom was ablaze when I ejected. It was a hypnotic sight. I could feel the heat slowly advancing toward the cockpit. I looked at the left wing and saw the flames crawling across, then I flipped the little dome off the stick and pressed the ejection button. The rockets lit up thunderously and flung me out. From the moment of impact until I disconnected from the ejection seat as it somersaulted to the ground, no more than forty seconds passed. And all that time, despite the yelling and the knowledge that we were going down in Lebanese territory, I worked just as I had been taught in flight school, doing exactly what I had learned in my years of squadron practice and my days in battle. Smoke, fire, the canopy flying in the deafening wind, the rocket explosion that delivered a massive kick to my rear-end, the beginning of the fall, the opening of the parachute that stopped me mid-air with a snap, and the disconnection from my seat, at which point the sky sucked me back up.

When the parachute opened, I paused in the sky and the silence ended instantly. I could hear gunfire below. All the hilltops of Lebanon were shooting at me. To my right, when I turned my head, I saw Ami’s parachute going down behind a silvery-green olive grove. As I neared the ground, the shouting and gunfire grew clearer. A huge noise and fiery flames rose up from the site where the Phantom had landed, and it disappeared almost immediately from my line of sight as I kept plunging toward the rocky terrain. Then I hit the ground, rolled over, and lay among the rocks and scrub.

As I fell and rolled, I could see buttercups. Springtime. I was struck by a fragmentary thought: the equinox. As if my mind was reminding me that there was a reason to lift my head up and think about the bigger picture, though it was growing smaller. I had fallen to the ground at neither day nor night, neither winter nor summer, but in the time that separates them, the season between Purim and Passover, a month before the birth of my first son. I had lived the first round of life up until that day. And then my second life began. Except that I didn’t know it yet. All I knew was that I had a half-hour window to hide and perhaps escape, then lie low waiting for the 669 medevac helicopter while the Cobras hovered overhead and gave cover.

I could hear bursts of fire, people’s voices, and the Cobras. I could also hear the dim thunder of my number two, who kept circling above me, directing the Cobras. All I had to do was hide and hang in there for half an hour. I knew the 669 would reach me soon. I couldn’t see Ami. He had ejected first and reached the ground before me.

I crawled behind a rock. My leg hurt but I wasn’t paying attention to that. I was deep in the excitement of the missile hit, the ejection and the fight for my life. I had to get away. Not be taken hostage. There were a few pine trees not far away, and an olive grove beneath the hill. It was afternoon. We had entered Lebanon from the direction of the setting sun, to blind the gunners and the anti-aircraft missile launchers. I debated for a moment whether to try and get to the hilltop so the medevac could get to me easily, or to the grove so I could hide. I put my head up and looked around. I heard voices from the grove and continuous machine-gun fire. The helicopters and the Phantom were doing flyovers overhead. Then, from the hill next to me, I saw the Cobra lift up and fly on toward the sea, which glistened in the setting sunlight. I dug through my pocket for the radio beacon to send out distress signals, but then the first bullets landed (hit) next to me. I put my head down and crouched behind the rock.

The pine trees became my only option. I decided to sprint over there as soon as I could. The gunfire stopped for a minute and I got up but immediately fell. Then shots started again. Someone had seen me and was firing long bursts, but that’s not why I fell. I looked at my left leg and saw a bloodstain spreading. Something must have broken when I parachuted down. My pants leg was ripped.

Then I did what I should have done at first. I examined myself. Everything was all right except the leg. There wasn’t going to be any running or any escaping. Shit. I could hear the voices from the olive grove getting closer. Now the setting sun was working in my favor.

I limped along quickly until the pain knocked me down, then dragged myself behind some tall green Spanish Broom. Even through the pain and the commotion and the gunshots, I could smell the big yellow flowers that caressed my face, and in a brief lull amid all the noise and fear and adrenaline, I spotted an insect inserting its proboscis deep into the flower while its belly danced on the lower petal, which looks like a long sleeve but is in fact a pedal that makes the stamen burst open and a cloud of dusk stick to the insect’s abdominal hairs. What are you looking at? I asked myself, and searched for my gun. It wasn’t there. It must have flown off when I crashed on the rocks. I tried to huddle behind the green bush, where the insects kept buzzing around as if the sun weren’t setting. The Spanish Broom was growing amid a cluster of poterium. Would the sun set before I was captured? I was too close to the parachute, which covered the low-growing plants. Maybe they wouldn’t see the green military fabric, designed to be camouflaged in the landscape. Just let night come. I had the radio beacon. I checked to make sure it was working and heard the helicopters getting closer and the Hellfires spraying the whole area, trying to prevent their pursuers from getting to me. It seemed as though every hilltop and valley in Lebanon was firing at the helicopters and the Phantoms, which went down for low flyovers to scare the enemy and scan the area. In the dying light, they were searching for me, trying to pick up signals so they could send in the medevac helicopter.

They got to me before the sun set. I could hear the Cobras flying low despite the constant fire, and the Phantoms searching for the beacon’s signals. I decided that when they got within earshot, I would turn off the radio and hide it, so it wouldn’t draw the 669 helicopter into an ambush. When I heard voices from beyond the bushes in the dusk, I turned the device off and slowly buried it in the Spiny Broom foliage covering the scrub. Then I put my head down and tried to vanish.

The voices came closer. I hunched down, but one of them saw me and pounced. He landed on my broken leg and the pain pinned me to the ground. I couldn’t move. And then they were standing over me, three men, firing long bursts of celebratory shots in the air. This is what my death will look like, I thought. But the pain was so intense that I couldn’t concentrate on anything but my leg. They motioned for me to stand, pulled me up, and I fell. They realized I was wounded.

I knew I was dead. The knowledge penetrated through the pain and I wondered if they would shoot me then and there or take me to the village first. As I awaited my death, I lived a moment that was neither life nor death, and therefore contained no fear. I looked at them: green webbing, Palladiums boots, Kalashnikovs. My life did not flash before my eyes. I had no time for such complex processes. I only thought, with relative clarity, about the fact that I was dead or would be soon, and I bade farewell to my life and to you and to my unborn child. There was so much I had not had time to do, but had managed to become a pilot, to fly among the stars, and to fall in love with you. I looked up at the sky and the line of hills, and above the horizon I saw Venus emerging. All of the planet’s names flew through my mind—Aphrodite, Morning Star, Evening Star, Bright Queen of the Sky. Beyond the commotion and the certain death and the end of life, I saw a promise in the glowing planet. And what was suddenly illuminated in my mind was Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, the shining star at the head of Canis Major. I recalled that the ancient Egyptians used to reckon their calendar according to the day when Sirius emerges a moment before sunrise, announcing the summer solstice and the start of flood season in the Nile.

Astronomical trivia came rushing in. In the squadron they call it attention distribution—the capacity to contend with more than one objective at the same time and to simultaneously analyze vastly different data. And these were the data I was facing: I was about to be shot in Lebanon with no ability to defend myself, with only the sky above me, containing a shining star that represented all the stars. For me, at that moment, the sky bore the significance it has for seafarers: a place to fly into, with hidden depths, on the border of darkness at the edge of the atmosphere, in a place where the heavens lose the pale-blue translucence of water vapors, on the outer edge of Earth’s gravity. The place where I would, if I had any push left in my engines, fly up to and depart from into space. What I did not know at that moment, the moment the Evening Star broke through the sky, was that my life in the skies was over and my life on Earth had begun.

 

 

 

 

The World

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Yafo Guide


Yafo is the most delicious place we have in Yafo. Full of tasty things - starting from the production- meat, poultry and fish into the spices, humus and sweets and the never ending munchies and drinks.
And of course we have restaurants that serves the results and coffee houses that refine the hot liquids and even cheap and liberal looking supermarkets where you can find the high and the low.
This is a short guide to the important unimportant places..

Main Stories

So how much money is grown and milked in Sinai?
If every Acre (4 Dunams) yields about 40,000 $  and we speak about thousands of Acres- we speak about hundreds millions of dollars.
A very big and profitable industry no doubt. Expensive enough to oil all hands – official & unofficial.
A new golden triangle is here.