You'll find quite a few of my stories here: http://www.israeloutlook.com
Although, you'll find me posting other stories all over the place, and they usually start with, "That reminds me of the time when I was in..."
I don't update IsraelOutlook anymore, partly because I'm not there and mostly because... well, I got married to this fabulous woman from Taiwan, who went on to drag me here. (Against my will, I tell you. I've been kidnapped!)
There's something about having a good marriage that drains the angst out of you. And, when it comes to writing about the Middle East, angst fuels it all.
But, what an incredible saga. The best and worst in humanity is writ large in the Arab Israeli conflict. It must be one of the most fascinating (and heart-breaking) ways to see the human condition at work. I have friends that I care dearly for that would hate each other on sight, if they ever met. I hate the fact that both the Palestinians and Israelis have suffered terribly, and for so little good reason.
However, I am not unbiased. I have an irrational love for Israelis - specifically, Jewish Israelis. I don't really know why, but that's a story for another time. The point that coincides with this thread is one of living on the margins of a society that had very little interest in my religious beliefs but valued my ability to put words together. I also loved the incredible vitality of Israelis and the sense of honor and hospitality that so many have. They are brusque and impolite, while being utterly sincere and warm hearted.
But, that didn't change the fact that I was a Christian living in a land of Jews. And, for most of my time in Israel none of my friends were anything but Jewish. But, that didn't matter because I love them and felt love in return.
No one quite knew what to do with me, and I enjoyed the incredible irony of being in a category all my own. Everytime I flew out of Ben Gureon Airport, it would take me more than two hours to get through security every single time. In fact, getting through security sometimes took longer than the flight itself. Being single, 30-something, and a goy living in Israel tripped every alarm bell of every security geek at every security station, everywhere. Shin Bet probably has a huge file on me somewhere.
I guess what helped me muddle through all this, was an incredible fascination of a place, a people and a time. I loved the people around me and the challenge of explaining my own version of the faith/culture divide. And, it IS fascinating to compare Judaism with Christianity, and how and why they interact.
Also, and maybe this is the most important point. I believe that I'm on a "Mission from God"* to be the biggest and best blessing I can possibly be to anyone and everyone around me.
Everybody needs a challenge.
(*Cue Blues Brothers soundtrack, please)