Israel's victory in the 1967 war brings acclaim and respect the world over-except from its Arab enemies. Israel is later forced to defend itself against a surprise attack from Egypt in 1973, and the Israeli defense minister, Moshe Dayan, decides the country needs a more secure southern border.
Meanwhile, in the United States, twenty-four-year-old Danielle Katz has survived the unimaginable. As she boards a plane to begin a new life in Israel, Danielle is haunted by horrific memories of her brutal rape. Now as she arrives in a strange country, knowing no one but her self-absorbed sister, Danielle knows it is up to her to turn her life around. Through her belief in the Almighty and her courage to face challenges, she manages to do so-meeting her future husband, Marvin Steinberg, in the process. After she and Marvin partner with a group of Americans to build a dream city on the shore of the Mediterranean, they head for Yamit, where they unwittingly become a part of Israel's history.
In this saga, a modern Jewish heroine embarks on a courageous journey of self-discovery as she helps settle a barren land and risks everything to protect an exquisite desert Eden from demise.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Love and Betrayal
By Pamela Schieber
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Pamela Schieber
All rights reserved.
After surviving such a brutal attack just a few days earlier, twenty-four-year-old Danielle Katz couldn't believe she still looked the same. After examining herself in the mirror of the ladies room at JFK International Airport, she just shrugged and decided not to reapply her smeared mascara. All she wanted to do was sleep during the long journey ahead of her. Sleep had eluded her since the rape. She gave herself a last hopeless glance before walking out the door to her destiny.
Although Danielle appreciated her long black hair, big brown eyes, and enviable figure, she knew her appearance concealed an abyss of pain and shock. Even before this trauma had happened, she had felt as burnt out as volcanic ash. She recalled her father's pithy advice at that last abysmal dinner with her parents. When she accused them of abandoning her, he calmly lit his pipe and stated, "Danielle, remember that security is an illusion. You're alive. "
Concentrating on taking even, deep breaths, she made her way to her gate in the international terminal. When her flight was called, she followed the line of passengers out onto the tarmac and slowly and cautiously climbed the metal stairs, holding tightly to the railing. She tried to smile at the stewardess who greeted her with a perky, "Shalom and welcome aboard EL AL," spoken with an unfamiliar Israeli accent, but she was too emotionally spent.
She found her seat on the pristine 747 after almost tripping over someone's suitcase, which had been left in the narrow aisle while the man argued with his wife in Hebrew. Another stewardess came over to see if she was okay and provided her with a bright EL AL blanket before she went over to help the couple.
Danielle laughed silently as she watched the scene unfold. Apparently the couple was fighting over where their baby was going to sleep. Finally, the stewardess brought a big cardboard box from somewhere by the galley. The mother wrapped the baby in a couple of blankets and laid him in the box, and that seemed satisfactory to the parents.
An older woman wearing too much makeup and a bad wig was sitting across the aisle from Danielle. She too was watching the couple and their baby, and she leaned closer to Danielle to talk to her.
"It's January 1974. You would think they could do better than a box for the baby, but they did the same thing to my daughter. She ordered a baby basket. And she got a box."
Danielle didn't have the strength to reply, so she smiled weakly and hoped the lady would stop talking.
"But that's nourishkeit," the woman went on. "Nothing. The important thing is that EL AL is a Jewish airline. We'll be safe. That's what my son-in-law, who by the way was a captain in the Yom Kippur War ..."
That was the last thing Danielle heard. She couldn't keep her eyes open anymore and was asleep before they even took off.
* * *
Danielle was startled awake by the sounds of "Hatikva," the Israeli national anthem, blasting over the sound system as the plane entered Israeli airspace. She was cranky and stiff from contorting herself into a fetal position for the twelve-hour journey to her new life in Israel, Still she considered that hatikva meant hope, and that was all she had after what she'd been through. Maybe this was a good omen.
Gingerly peeking out of her blanket cocoon, her head throbbing from the Nembutal and black Russian concoction that she'd downed at the fiasco dinner with her parents, she thought she was hallucinating. A contingent of Hassidic men in their long black coats and shtreimel hats were greeting the day with their morning prayers. Up at dawn, they were as organized as an army of ants. She incredulously watched them scurry down the aisle to the front of the plane. Each pulled out a prayer book, seemingly from thin air, and started to pray, each at his own speed and punctuating his rhythm with swaying and nodding.
Oh shit, what have I done? Danielle asked herself. She shook her head in disbelief even as she hypnotically watched the ancient ritual. Unlike those men, her only prayer was that her sister Lauren would be waiting for her at Ben Gurion Airport in the city of Lod, just south of Tel Aviv.
Still groggy when the plane landed, she went through customs in a daze, bumping into people in the crowded terminal and even accidently knocking a lit cigarette out of someone's hand while she scanned the crowd for her sister. Then, as she waited for her duffel bag at the baggage claim, she felt her skin crawl and her stomach cramp. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted a dark-skinned man walking toward her and she immediately froze. When he got closer, she realized he didn't look like her rapist and let out a sigh of relief. He wasn't even black, just of a darker complexion than she was used to. Her mistake made her realize that the rape had changed a lot more than she'd realized. She had never been prejudiced before. When her mother had screamed at her and belittled her for bringing her friend Terry home from school with her, she had screamed back that she was embarrassed her mother was a racist. Her mother just gave her that knowing grin and calmly retorted, "I prefer realist. You'll learn."
Maybe her mother was right. She wished she could snap her fingers and life would go back to the way it had been before the rape, but wishes weren't reality.
As she grabbed her bag, she felt a stab of envy as she watched families reuniting with hugs and kisses. In her family any demonstration of affection was alien. Her mother and father had waved good-bye and wished her well as if nothing had happened. How could they abandon her when she needed them? Instead, she'd had to listen to her mother rant and rave that she was a whore and that it was her fault. Maybe she was, according to her mother's standards, but times change. Just look at what she was wearing—jeans. A few years ago she would never have gotten on a plane if she weren't wearing a skirt and sweater set.
Where the hell was her sister? Confused and surrounded by the sounds of a harsh, guttural foreign language, to Danielle everyone seemed to be meeting someone except her. She looked around to find a place to wait and noticed groups of soldiers carrying machine guns as they walked through the terminal, perusing the crowds even as they chatted and laughed. A few gave her appreciative looks that would have made her feel good just a few days ago. Now it didn't matter that one of them looked a little like Paul Newman when he played Ari Ben Canaan in the movie Exodus. As the whole awful experience played over and over in her head, she couldn't decide what was worse: the rape or the mental and emotional abuse perpetrated by the authorities. She still couldn't believe that the fat police sergeant had refused to look for the knife until she threatened to go to his superior, or that nasty doctor who had treated her like she was the criminal.
Now she was in a strange country where she knew no one except her sister, and as usual Lauren had disappointed her. Maybe Lauren had forgotten she was coming that day. There had to be a mistake.
Staring at the array of clocks on the wall, she become even more anxious. They looked so strange. Maybe there was more wrong with her than she'd thought. Then she realized she couldn't read them because they displayed military time in several international time zones. As she continued to search every face, she became frantic. It was apparent her sister wasn't coming. Danielle rummaged in her pocketbook and breathed a sigh of relief when she found a crumpled piece of paper with the kibbutz phone number written on it. She had to change some money and ask how the phone worked. The man at the booth gave her the asimonim, or tokens, as rudely as if she had asked for his life savings. It was the same despicable attitude she had encountered in the hospital.
Her fingers trembling, she dialed the kibbutz's number. She must have shouted "Emergency!" a dozen times before the receptionist understood her, and then she miraculously heard Lauren's voice.
"Where the hell are you?" Danielle yelled.
"I couldn't make it," her sister responded nonchalantly.
"What do you mean you couldn't make it? I just got off a plane in a strange country and you're the only person I know. You're my sister, for God's sake, and that's what you have the nerve to tell me?"
"Calm down. It's just too far to start schlepping. I didn't have a ride to the bus and I'm way up in the Bet Shean valley."
"Why the hell didn't you call or write to let me know?"
"I didn't know soon enough. You'll be fine. Go to the Metropole Hotel in Tel Aviv and I'll be down the day after tomorrow."
"Why two days from now and not tomorrow?"
"I'll be able to get a ride to the bus in two days. Just grab a cab and go to the Metropole Hotel. It shouldn't cost more than twenty dollars, and I'll meet you there. You can get a room to share with other people so it's cheaper. See ya soon. Love ya. I'm so glad you're here," she added as an afterthought.
Still angry and feeling lost, Danielle found a cab and, to her relief, managed to make the driver understand where to take her. As she sat in the backseat of the filthy cab, she tried to make some sense of it all. First she had been raped, and then abused by the hospital staff and called a liar by the police. To top it off, she'd been stood up by her own sister.
Resolutely, Danielle summoned all her will not to think about the last few days, while being all too aware that it was a miracle she was alive. She knew without any doubt, in every cell of her body, that if God had willed her to die, she would have. The rapist could have stuck the knife into her jugular vein and that would have been the end.
As she looked out the smeared window of the cab, she realized this was the first time she would be totally alone since the rape. A wave of nausea swept over her, and she wasn't sure if it because of the horror of the past or the uncertainty of her future.
The cab driver charged too much for the ride, but she didn't even have the strength to argue. She just wanted to get a room that was clean and safe where she could wait for Lauren to show up.
She had thought arriving a month before school started would be more interesting than going directly there. After deciding to quit her monotonous government job, she had found a program that offered Judaics and Hebrew studies to young Jewish professionals. By coming early, she could spend time with her sister, who was volunteering on a kibbutz, and she could see a little bit of the country on her own. Wrong again, she thought.
The shabby hotel that Lauren had sent her to was near the beach, off Hayarkon Street. Great area, Danielle thought as she looked around. It's on the fringe of the red light district. I'll fit right in. But since she didn't have much money and didn't know where else to go, she didn't have much choice. Since Lauren had told her it would even be cheaper if she elected to share a room with someone else, she chose that option and prayed her roommate wouldn't be a murderer. An old man who looked like he had been sitting at the same check -in desk since the British Mandate sullenly gave her the room key. He pointed to the elevator with a finger bent with arthritis, and as she took the old, creaky elevator to the third floor, she tried to stay as still as possible. The way her luck was running, the cable would break and her crumpled body would be found on the floor of the basement.
Surprised that she made it to her floor safely, she dragged her duffel bag down the hallway and then got frustrated trying to unlock the door. Finally, after what felt like hours, the key turned. Danielle opened the door and kicked her duffel bag in. The dimly lit room contained three single beds. The mattresses were pancake thin and covered with threadbare sheets, with a gray wool blanket folded at the bottom of each bed. She silently uttered her thanks that she had arrived safely, unpacked a few necessities, and decided that what she needed more than anything was a shower. Maybe she could finally scrub off all the dirt from the last few days.
In the tiny bathroom the unfamiliar faucets turned on easily enough, but they refused to shut off. Before she could figure out what to do, water was everywhere. And it kept running, overflowing the stall and streaming through under the door onto the bedroom floor. It wouldn't stop no matter what she did. She frantically turned the faucet right, left, up, and down. And then, suddenly and miraculously, it stopped. But by then she didn't know if the flood was from the faucet or from her tears.
When Danielle woke up the next morning, to her chagrin one of the other beds was no longer empty. A strikingly pretty girl with honey colored curls was bending over the side of the bed searching for her shoes. Looking up at Danielle, she announced, "Good morning."
"Hey," Danielle answered groggily. "I didn't hear you come in."
"I came in late last night and didn't want to disturb you. By the way, my name is Sarah." Danielle couldn't help but be captivated by the warmth of her smile. She felt a perceptible change in the room, but wasn't sure what it was. Puzzled, she looked around and thought it was probably her imagination, but the room suddenly looked a little brighter. It reminded her of when the rapist had been pounding her unmercifully and she thought her life was over, but then had inexplicably felt a calmness enter her. She had known she would live. She had no other explanation, but that God had answered her cry of despair.
Danielle introduced herself warily and then figured it was better to chat with someone, even a stranger, than to go round and round in her head with the same miserable, humiliating story. When she found out that Sarah was on a short break from the kibbutz where Lauren worked, she laughed with glee at such a weird coincidence. So together, like old friends, they walked over to Dizengoff Square to have breakfast. While they were meandering down Rothschild Boulevard, Danielle blurted out, "God, these buildings are ugly. They look like big boxes."
To Danielle's relief, Sarah didn't seem insulted. Instead, she laughed and explained, "Lots of people think so, but the Bauhaus philosophy of art and architecture was a great match with original Zionistic principles. It revered minimalism. The architects believed that buildings should have clean lines and provide for utilitarian needs. And look." She pointed. "All the apartments have balconies."
Danielle nodded. "Did they plan that in the original buildings in Germany also?"
"Actually, no. They were advocates of large windows."
"But look," Danielle said. Some of these windows are very narrow."
"They had to make adjustments because of the heat," Sarah said. "The balconies were a modification so that people could enjoy the sea breezes while they relaxed and took part in the street life of the neighborhood."
As they continued their walk, Danielle noticed something odd and asked, "Why are some buildings on stilts?"
"Actually, the idea was very idealistic," Sarah said. "It was to have a garden in the middle of a city right where the people lived."
Noting the concrete beneath the buildings, Danielle said dryly, "Well, it looks like that idea didn't work."
Sarah laughed, and Danielle was glad she still had her wit even after all the turmoil of the last few days.
Sarah continued to talk about how Tel Aviv became a Bauhaus-designed city, and Danielle's thoughts drifted. As Sarah explained more of how Bauhaus combined art and architecture, Danielle suddenly asked, "So Sarah, tell me honestly do you like being in Israel?"
Sarah enthusiastically described living in the Jewish country. Danielle, who had forgotten her misery for a little while, discovered a glimmer of hope deep within her. Sarah talked not only about how many of the Bauhaus pioneers fled Nazi Germany and ended up designing much of Tel Aviv, she also spoke about the centrality of Israel to the Jewish people throughout history. The stories of despair and redemption not only gave Danielle hope, but the courage to continue after surviving such brutality. There was no other choice.
That evening before Sarah left, the two young women took their shoes off and walked along the deserted beach. As they watched the flickers of light coming from Jaffa, Sarah hugged Danielle and said it was time for her to go.
Tears filled Danielle's eyes, and she was petrified she would start crying. Instead, she muttered, "I understand. Thanks for everything." She looked down at her feet and took a deep breath. When she looked up, Sarah was gone. Danielle was almost relieved, because now she wouldn't have to say good-bye.
Excerpted from Love and Betrayal by Pamela Schieber. Copyright © 2013 Pamela Schieber. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
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