by Naomi Ragen on November 20th, 2011
Who really built the fence?
The recent stabbing of a teenager in the northern Jerusalem suburb of Ramot, apparently by a resident of Beit Iksa, hit me hard. I lived in Ramot for 23 years, 16 of them directly across the wadi from Beit Iksa. All during the intifada when buses were blowing up all over the country, the men of Beit Iksa walked across the wadi and up the steps next to my house to work as laborers, without incident. Often, they passed me by in groups, watching as I tended my fruit trees and grape vines. Sometimes I even offered them fruit, which they smilingly declined or accepted. The sound of their muezzin and darbuka (drums) filled my home. I accepted it as part of the experience of living in this beautiful spot with its rolling hills and apple orchards. In fact, during the euphoria of the Oslo Accords, I even sometimes imagined walking across the wadi to visit and inviting some of them to my home.
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