# 73 – St. Stephen’s Day and Hummus by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 73 – St. Stephen’s Day and Hummus

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409

December 26, 2006

St. Stephen’s Day! And it’s pouring with rain. No one, but NO ONE here understands my excitement. Only when I mention he was the first Christian martyr, having been stoned to death, do they catch on…with a knowing smile and forefinger tapped to the side of the head. “No! REAL stones”, I insist. But it just doesn’t get through.


Everyone knows it was Christmas Day yesterday, but I get the same condescending smiles when I mention the greeting. We were thinking of spending the evening in Old Jaffa, joining the celebrations of the local Christians. But not much enthusiasm.


I did go to Bethlehem about 20 years ago, in the days when it was no hassle and when there were hoards of tourists. In fact, we had to stand outside during the service due to the crowds. But, as BBC pointed out last night, it’s more difficult today to get to Bethlehem from Jerusalem than in those Roman days, some 2000 years ago. Of course, it’s difficult to prove that my daughters are alive thanks to that wall, but that’s the theory. Sorry about that.


No presents, no candles on the tree (we didn’t even have enough for the last day of Chanukah, which was Dec. 23. I think 35 is the number you need for the 7 days of Chanukah; that’s 2 for the first day, and 1 more each of the 7 days). Nor did we have a tree on which to place them. (Would have been breaking the fire safety laws had we done so. I did so about 3 years ago. Shall definitely do so again one day).


I DID get to Jaffa on Christmas Day. Joined our younger daughter, Shira, her partner, Kfir, and her dog, Piki, for take-out hummus. There’s a special place in Jaffa, serving only warmed hummus, slightly hot-spiced, with or without foul (pronounced ‘full’), a bit like brown baked beans.


On the side, you just get a cut-up onion and freshly-baked pita – and a drink. It’s fast food, meaning that if you get to sit at one of the 7 or 8 small tables, they expect you to gulp the food down in 5-10 minutes and get out. But we ‘took out’ and walked 2-300 meters to a terrace-like space with large tones on which to sit and eat.


Blue skies, blue sea, a few sails, behind us, the changing face of Jaffa: old buildings amongst new, some combining old and new. Rich among poor, although many of the poor are sitting on potentially-rich land, not yet selling. Beneath us, a terrace-pool – presume they have a sign warning their guests about the type of terrace on which they’re about to step.


Olmert is unilaterally offering $100 million of held-back funds, release of prisoners, opening of many West Bank road blocks, increase of Palestinian employment in Israel, and more. He feels that this will give signs that Israel is willing to compromise for peace. All such moves have failed in the past. Olmert is trying to prop up support for Abbas, but this could backfire. So many Palestinians see any contact with Israel as treasonable action.


A new year is approaching, although not so recognised by the peoples in this part of the World. They have their own calendars. But anyway, for the sake of wishing, let’s wish for the breakthrough that swings the momentum into the direction of peace and prosperity, and may Ahmadinejad swallow a pint of that spicy stuff they put in the hummus… permanently.


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