Reading about “Palestine + 100” (2019). Was This Really A Good Idea?

palestine

Cover image for the science fiction anthology “Palestine + 100”

I found a link to the book review Palestine + 100′ Explores Contested Territory, Past And Future at Mike Glyer’s File 770 and was intrigued. Apparently, Palestine + 100:

…poses a question to twelve Palestinian writers: what might your country look like in the year 2048 – a century after the tragedies and trauma of what has come to be called the Nakba?

The reviewer, Amal El-Mohtar is the Hugo-award winning author of “The Honey Month” and writes the Otherworldly column for the New York Times Book Review according to the blurb on NPR. Among other things, she states:

The choice of subtitle — “stories from a century after the Nakba” — exemplifies this, drawing attention to the fact that for Palestinians (and many Israelis), May 15, 1948 is not a date to celebrate, but to grieve.

In case you didn’t know, May 15, 1948 was the date when Israel declared it’s independence from British rule and was established as a Jewish state.

The book hasn’t yet been reviewed at Amazon.co.uk, but received two favorable reviews on the U.S. site for Amazon.

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What About the Synagogue Shooting in Pittsburgh?

tonge

Baroness Jenny Tonge (screen capture: YouTube)

While there has been a lot of buzz about alleged “MAGA Bomber” Cesar Sayoc, the same people who object and protest after every mass shooting seem relatively quiet in the wake of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting where at least 11 people lost their lives while attending a brit milah ceremony.

Not sure if this means the general public views shooting Jews differently than shooting anyone else, and I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but what really bugs me is when people start to blame the victim.

In this case, I’m referring to Jenny Tonge, a British House of Lords lawmaker who, according to a Times of Israel story:

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Reimagining the King of Israel

Sing and be glad, O daughter of Zion, for behold! – I come and I will dwell among you – the words of Hashem. Many nations will attach themselves to Hashem on that day, and they shall become a people unto Me, but I will dwell among you – then you will realize that Hashem, Master of Legions, has sent me to you. –Zechariah 2:14-15 (The Stone Edition Chumash)

pesach

Pesach in Jerusalem – Image found in multiple locations – no photo credit available

Matthew Osborne sat in his easy chair, his teeth clenched and his fingers tightly gripping the arms as he watched the broadcast program from Jerusalem.

“I can’t believe it, Eloise, I just can’t believe it. I mean look at them. How could they all…”

The older man started sobbing and his wife, who had been pouring a cup of tea for him, came out of the kitchen and put her hand on his shoulder from behind.

“Matt, if this upsets you so, turn it off.”

He looked up at her. “Turning off the TV doesn’t change the fact that millions of the saints have turned their backs on our Lord Jesus Christ to follow this pretender, this Jewish King.” He spat out the last two words like a curse.

“Let’s pray together, Matt. Jesus is still our Lord in Heaven.” She hurriedly moved around the chair and kneeled in front of him.

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What Lies Beneath the Lateran?

arch of titus

Roman Triumphal arch panel copy from Beth Hatefutsoth, showing spoils of Jerusalem temple – From Wikimedia Commons

They were finally gone, sent away empty handed and believing the Priests of the Holy Roman Catholic Church were not latter-day thieves of their oh so precious Jewish artifacts.

Cardinals Angelo Vincenti and Francis Curia were not young men, but still strong enough to assist the eighty-four year old Pope down into the lowest levels of the Lateran, the residence of his Holiness. The party from the Israel Antiquities Authority were granted admittance even here in order to satisfy their suspicious curiosity. Of course none of the artifacts they sought were present. The Church was once again forced to feign friendship and good will to the nation of Israel in defiance of the law of Christ, but it was necessary for now. Once the Lord Jesus Christ returned from Heaven and the Church took full possession of both Rome and Jerusalem, the entire truth would be known. However premature knowledge of the true plan of the Popes spanning back to St. Peter himself would ruin everything.

They now faced a blank stone wall, presumably hiding nothing but tons of rock. “Cardinal Vincenti, if you would.”

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Epilogue One: Mikiko’s Race

fukusima

Found at Open source investigation

Mikiko Jahn was dead. She died on 14 March 2011 when Reactor 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant exploded injuring eleven people and killing one…her.

Who was she today? For the mission with Geoffrey Colins and his covert ops team working for the mysterious “Agency,” she had used the name Mikiko Kojima. Kojima was her mother’s name before she was married. Was that her identity, her former life having ended?

For over five years, Professor Daniel Hunt and elite team of scientists, engineers, physicists, and other experts recruited by his company Synthecon Corporation worked on a joint British-Japanese experiment, a highly secret endeavor to take the barely alive lump of burnt flesh, bone, and blood who was once a woman and reconstruct it using artificial DNA that mimicked her own to manufacture the world’s first synthetic human being.

How much of you has to be replaced before you stop being human?

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The Men I Never Met

Emek HaBacha

Emek HaBacha (Valley of Tears) Memorial – From Wikimedia Commons

It had started at Tel Saki on Yom Kippur, 6 October 1973 when six soldiers embarked on a routine reconnaissance mission to the outpost. For thirty-one year old Benjamin Wolff, now standing at the Valley of Tears memorial, it ended with the death of his uncle.

The Former U.S. Marine put his hand on a Syrian T62 tank. It also ended for Benjamin in Damascus on 13 March 1986 as a thirty-one year old reporter for the Associated Press was killed in a terrorist car bombing along with 59 other civilians.

His uncle had made Aliyah right after his nineteenth birthday and proudly joined the IDF. Dad stayed in the States pursuing a journalism career. Ben hadn’t known either of them, but they bound his soul here. He’d go back home to Idaho, to his wife and three children. By next fall, they’d be living in Haifa. They were Jews and this was their home.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google Maps image and location and use it to inspire the crafting of a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Tel Saki which, depending on the source consulted, is in Syria or Israel.

Interestingly enough, Wikipedia has almost nothing on the location. This is in spite of the fact that a significant battle in the 1973 Yom Kippur War occurred there when a coalition of Arab nations including Syria launched a sneak attack on Israel on the holiest day on the Jewish religious calendar.

However other sources had tons of information such as The Friendship and Heritage Foundation and the Legal Insurrection blog. Since the Valley of Tears or Emek Habacha is in the same area and a decisive battle in that war was fought there, in my research I included an article from The Times of Israel and this time Wikipedia had a lot more to say.

For my research I discovered that there were terrorist car bombings in Damascus in 1986 including one conducted by Pro-Iraqi militants on March 10th which killed 60 people.

One of my sons (he’s a twin) is thirty-one and a U.S. Marine veteran and although I don’t anticipate that he or any of his siblings will make Aliyah to Israel (my wife is Jewish which means my children are too), he’s probably the one who would most likely go.

I created a sense of loss due to war for him which also connected him to Israel and the middle east in a unique way. Some might retreat from that heritage because of the violence, but others would and have fiercely embraced and defended the Jewish homeland.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Diverting Armageddon

ceres

Found at: solarsystem.nasa.gov

“Papa, why do I have to go to Hebrew school? You didn’t.”

“My dear little Miss, that’s because I’m not Jewish. You and your Mama are.”

“But it’s so boring. I already know all of the Hebrew, the cantillation is so easy, and Rabbi Endelman drones on and on and…”

“Now stop it. Rachel Aiyana Zheutlin, you will not mock your elders. This is important. There are so many Jewish children behind the Iron Curtin who would love the opportunity to have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, but…”

“I know, Papa. The Communists made it illegal.” Almost twelve-year-old Rachel Aiyana hugged her Papa. “I’m sorry. I love you and Mama. I just sometimes get…well, frustrated.”

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Not Kansas

vw in israel

© Kent Bonham

“You’re not in Kansas anymore.”

“Avi, you can’t believe how many times I’ve heard that since making aliyah.” Morris sounded annoyed but admired how well the native Israeli spoke English. Half the time he struggled to find the right Hebrew words in a conversation.

“Hey, what do you think of that girl over there? Maybe she wants a ride.”

Avi knew Morris was married, but loved to tease the shy American. Neither noticed as she reached inside her shoulder bag. They were both killed in the explosion along with seven schoolchildren who had stopped to admire the car.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 98.

When I saw the image was titled “VW in Israel” and the Kansas license plate in the back window, I started writing without a clear end in mind. The story just formed itself.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Name on the Gravestone

rosenberg

Found at commons.wikimedia.org

“No one even knew his first name, just the initial A.”

“It’s okay, Bubbe. It took a long time, but we finally found your Dad.”

Esther Rosenberg Katz had been waiting for this day since she was old enough to understand her precious Abba was lost in the war. She grew up with her mother, two brothers, numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins but she was always without her Tateshi.

Thanks to years of research and her computer savvy granddaughter, Esther finally found him.

“Are you going to have him exhumed so he can be buried in Israel?”

“No, Elisheva. We’ll leave him here with his comrades. Hashem will restore him to Israel in His time.

Esther reached into her handbag, opened the small container inside, took out the soil she’d brought from the Holy Land and sprinkled it on Abraham Rosenberg’s grave in her final duty as his daughter.

Today at “What Pegman Saw” we are taken to Kanchanaburi, Thailand and specifically to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. I found the image above when doing a google search and found it and the cemetery’s history fascinating.

The idea is to use the Pegman Google image to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149. I’ve added some links in the body of the story to explain certain words and concept that might not be readily apparent to all readers.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

A Sky Filled With Hope

israel from space

Photo credit: NASA/Barry Wilmore – Israel from space

Each of the 1,038 nanosatellites that launched from the Satish Dhawan space port in India was hardly larger than a milk carton, but these small, inexpensive spacecraft, originally designed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, were the hope of mankind.

Avi Salomon and Havah Tobias stood in Mission Control and watched the monitors as the nanosats reached their initial orbits. The “father” of the project, Professor Dan Blumberg, received a remote feed at Ben-Gurion in Beer-Sheva.

“It’s looking very good, Professor.” Tobias spoke into her microphone. “I think we will be successful.”

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