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She bought the cheese in silence. Took it home and could not eat it. Her throat burned for days. She was mad at herself for buying the cheese and not speaking up. Well, the anthology published my poem. But the editor, who happens to be Jewish, told me later she didn’t really like it. She didn’t want to believe it. A year or so later, she faxed me from London. She had just spent a month in Jerusalem and was honorable enough to want to clear something up. In essence she said, “I apologize. Your poem is happening everywhere, over and over again. I saw it with my own eyes. I had not been prepared for such cruelty from my people y ehuda Amichai, the beloved Israeli poet who died in the year 2000, said to me in the mid-nineties, “I want you to know that no Arab house ever stood on this spot where my dwelling stands. I could not live here if this house or this land had been taken from another person.” He, his wife and I were finishing an excellent breakfast of scrambled eggs, pita bread and olives at their dining table. He stared out the window toward the Old City of Jerusalem. “I could never live in your father’s old house’: He knew that my father’s old house had been seized by Israeli commandos in 1948 and my father’s family not allowed to return. I told him Jewish rabbinical students from New York were studying in that house now and he shook his head. Born in Germany, Amichai came with his parents to Palestine in 1936 when he was 12. He knew what it was like to be a person-inexile. He and my father witnessed the same dramatic days of 1948 from different perspectives. Later Amichai would write, “My bed/stands on the brink of a deep valley/without rolling down into it…” He was sensitive to other people’s stories as well as his owna poet’s responsibility. And he was troubled by many things that he witnessed. His son had been in the Israeli army. He and his wife worried a great deal about all the young people being killed in continuing Facing page, top: Mohamed Judeh, who was severely injured in an Israeli military attack, and Nabeel Abadallah, East Jerusalem YMCA rehabilitation therapist. Bottom: These Israeli soldiers sit at the entrance to the market in Hebron. There were 2,000 Israeli soldiers in Hebron last spring when this photograph was taken. This page: Rabbi Arik Ascherman, co-leader of Rabbis for Human Rights, visits Atta Jabber in Hebron. Atta had received a home demolition order from the Israeli Army. Rabbi Ascherman gives his friendship and moral support to Atta, whose home was later torn down. conflicts. “The moderates on both sides need to have louder voices!” he insisted. “Otherwise we are only hearing the extremists:’ “It has never been the style of moderates to SHOUT,” I countered. “Of course not,” he said, staring out his window. “But maybe we need to now’: Amichai is dead and his words ring even louder. How do we shout? Where? To what audience? 8/3/01 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 39