In the Presence of Strangers: Sabbath Shopping (Chapter I)

On Earth As It Is

I will post a new chapter from my novel about Israel and the intifada every Friday. This book is dedicated to Safta, Saba, Bubby, and Poppy. 

That which is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor.” (Hillel)


The rose of Sharon wilts precisely six kilometers south of Kochav Yair, just beyond a fork in the road notorious for traffic accidents. To the west, civilization sprawls irresistibly onward, approaching the Pizza Huts and McDonalds’ beyond which the classic waters of the Mediterranean lap the shoreline. To the north, on the other side of a security post manned by guards bearing semiautomatic weaponry and acne scars, the roads of Palestine ramble alongside the wadis of the West Bank, progressing through a long parade of graveyards until they reach the Jordan River, or what is left of it, anyway.

It is a wild place, but not without some sense…

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